……and if your communications don’t make your company money or save it money, just don’t do it!
It’s the all-too-familiar circular relationship that many IC people can relate to: they believe they are often perceived by senior leaders as not adding value, while many business leaders don’t understand or really appreciate the actual value of their internal communications activities.
Obviously, this unproductive and frustrating scenario does not apply to those organizations with a clear understanding of how effective internal communications adds significant returns to the bottom line.
But the reality is that it does apply to very many IC professionals. It was underlined yet again in advance of Poppulo’s webinar with Jim Shaffer, one of the world’s great business advisors and leadership experts, organized by my colleagues Emma Hanley and Eoin Cotter.
Prior to the webinar on ‘How to add measurable results and value as a strategic advisor’, Jim sought the views of those signed up for the webinar on what they believed were the biggest barriers to achieving this goal. A common theme among the hundreds of answers from all over the world was the belief that they are perceived as not adding value.
And, as Jim pointed out, this is at a time when everybody in every discipline in all organizations are under pressure to prove value like never before. Those surveyed covered the full spectrum of IC experience, from seasoned professionals heading departments to some in the early stages of their careers in communications.
(Download the webinar here)
In addition to the perception of not adding value, they also argued they don’t have enough time to be more strategic, that they’re too much ‘in the weeds’ and their roles are reactive rather than proactive. Nothing new in that, but still a source of real concern given the increasing imperative on IC people to add value.
So we were delighted to be able to collaborate with Jim Shaffer in what turned out to be a fascinating webinar, packed with informed insights and wise advice that can be translated into positive action. It’s relevance is certainly not restricted to people working in IC: their senior leaders would do well to check it out too to find out how effective communications can have proven impact on the bottom line. In the webinar he outlines a 4-step process that is required to move IC from an activity oriented function to one that adds value and gets results.
Jim has spent the past 30 years squarely focused on improving work, and results, that people can control. This focus and advice has resulted in spectacular results for many of the best brands in the world. The webinar served up an engaging mix of practical advice and interesting case studies where enterprise-focused internal communications turned around poor business practices, adding measurable value and elevating IC to being an influencer at the top table.
One of the top takeaways was the need for IC practitioners to realize their priority is to make a positive business impact, it’s not about communications activity; communications is not the end, it’s a means towards something else and that something else is adding value.
In the many interesting case studies referred to in the webinar, Jim cites one forward-thinking IC professional who developed a very clear value proposition for her communications department: ‘We need to help the company either make money or save money. If it doesn’t make money or save money we don’t do that work’. Smart thinking, and precisely what’s needed to elevate IC to being a key influencer and strategic advisor.
If you’re short of time at the moment and want to listen to the webinar later, we’ve extracted the ‘12 Top Tips on how to add value in IC as a strategic advisor’ and you can download it here.
We hope you find it useful and we would love to hear your comments.