Do you have a seat at the table?
The communications team is generally the ‘blue eyed boy’ for any CEO. Given the fact that this team is the one that bring the ideas to reality or might I say make the idea more visible and popular. But we often see that the communications team gets called once the decision has been taken and is generally not part of the decision making process.
The classic dialogue in most organisations is, “we are launching this new product, let’s spin a story around this and let’s launch”. Thereafter the communication team is spending its efforts in planning, creating the story, rolling out the event, and then getting the product to launch. Many a times it turns out that during this process the communication team comes back with feedback on certain aspects that are important, and can delay the entire project.
So the Question, what does it take for you to get a Seat at the table? NO! Smoke breaks are not the answer.
Learn the business, unlike other departments the communications team is looked upon like an internal consultancy to help add glamour and glitz to campaign; who only gets information on a need to know basis and when the final touches are being done- just like the sprinkles on an ice-cream. If you want to be seen at par with the business, you need to learn the business, the language, and the technicalities, so you are seen not only as a communications person but as a person who understands the nuances just like any other business person.
Keep the consumer in mind, The Communications team, acts as that pulse of the organisation and needs to be that guide who brings the focus back to its consumer.
Be the subject matter expert, in many situations every leader has a say, especially those who are close to subject at hand – some want a campaign run on the tech spec, some on the utility, some on the story, etc. So, be that Subject Matter Expert and take a call, after all you have the 360deg view and would be in the best position to take a call.
Take the risk, to be creative. It is very easy to be a bit orthodox and take the safe route, however communication channels can get mundane and boring, so keep your thinking hat on, see how you can best present the subject more creatively.
Be innovative, use technology, while technology is something that is very quickly implemented in business, the communications team is one of the last team to receive it. And I am talking about AI, ML, etc… At times it becomes difficult for organisations to justify a business case for the communications team, however on the contrary, we need to be more agile and adapt technology to be more efficient as we have the leanest teams.
Be the advisor, All thought leaders need visibility, you need to be that person that can help them build their personal brand, both within and outside the organisation. This not only helps them, but also helps the organisation in the long run.
Get your hands dirty; take the responsibility to get things done, sometime things that are even out of your purview… like a project or initiative.
You will learn something new,
it help you get a better pulse of your organisation.