Current Events

Actions Speak Louder than Words

Change signChanging the perception of the public relations industry requires more than a new definition. That shouldn’t be news to anyone. Just saying something will not make it a reality. Smoke and mirrors won’t change anything.

What’s interesting is this is not a new conversation or problem. It’s been going on since before I earned my Bachelor’s in PR way back when. It’s about much more than being able to tell people what you do for a living. There’s a fundamental lack of respect for PR practitioners in the public view, and a lot of it has to do with the vagaries of the compensation model.

Shared Views: Is Bank of America Deaf?

According to CNBC, The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that Bank of America (BofA) is considering new fees. This time, the targets are those with low balance checking accounts who don’t use other bank products. I’m not quite sure how BofA thinks this will ‘sell’ when the monthly fee on debit cards failed so miserably.

There is no question that BofA, and pretty much all banks, have been hurt by new limits on debit card transaction fees and other restrictions imposed by Congress. Most of us understand that. We also understand that banks are in business to make a profit. They are not charities. No problem.

Shared Views: PR, Personal Data & Culture

Southwest VistaThis is the view of San Francisco from the Vista Park just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. I took this one at about 6:30 a.m. on my way back home after picking up a friend at the airport.  It’s the only time I’ve pulled into that tourist parking area and I’d have missed this great scene if my friend hadn’t asked to stop. I guess I drive past this view so often that I was forgetting to stop and enjoy what a beautiful place I live in. I’m working on fixing that mistake by paying closer attention to what’s around me.

With that, here are some other views that got my attention this week:

Sometimes noise is just that…

Illustration of NoiseWatching recent Internet backlash and organizations reacting to it is fascinating. The volume is certainly up higher on people’s reaction to your decisions. While that may be a good thing in some ways it can also lead to some big mistakes, like changing an organization’s decision when the one they’ve made is the right one for its future. If you’ve done it right then you should be able to support and stand behind major decisions.

First and foremost, leaders and organizations need to remember that pleasing all the people all the time is neither possible nor a viable goal. There are going to be people who disagree just because disagreeing makes them happy. Stop trying to please everyone and focus on earning support from the people who matter most to your success.

Just Deal With It!

FireworksWhen are people going to wake up, smell the coffee and deal with problems in a direct manner? The mess at Penn State is just the latest example of how not dealing with something makes it worse.

There is just no excuse for increasing your risk by trying to ignore a problem, minimize it or, stupidly, hide it. Most problems do not just go away, they just fester and get worse. The true scope of the problem will come out. Hiding a problem is just not possible and makes you look guilty of something that may look worse than it is.

Just deal with it!

Communicating Layoffs

Organizational ChartWhile the pundits are claiming the economy is getter better, I keep getting questions from a variety of organizations about handling communications for additional rounds of layoffs. Frankly, this is something everyone in communications should be thinking about before it happens.

Going through layoffs is a traumatic event. It is a clear statement that there is a problem; that the organization must change. Making a reorganization work will require support from every level of the organization. If you don’t incorporate building that support into your planning and communications strategy, you’ll create even more problems.

I’ve experienced layoffs from every angle. I’ve been let go, one of the people left behind, the boss who made the decision to let people go and the consultant helping clients go through the process. None of these roles is enjoyable but the two worst were being the boss who had to cut staff and being one of the people left to pick up the pieces. Seriously, I found it harder to be in the organization after the reductions.

Giving Back. Getting More.

I just got home with my brain in high gear from a great week, even though much of it was spent in a small conference room (and in Washington, D.C. traffic just for good measure). I was invited to D.C. to be part of a management seminar for Air Force Public Affairs (AFPA) personnel who are newly appointed as functional leaders at the Wing level.

This was a sharp group of young people—some officers, some non-commissioned officers and a few civilians. For the most part, these folks are just moving into their first management job where they can no longer be ‘only’ a broadcaster, journalist, photographer or whatever else they were before. Now their jobs are about pulling the big picture together to tell the story and support their commanders’ priorities.