"Communicators need to be the advisers who orient Boards and other leaders towards True North, being focused on purpose and values and making decisions in line with those."
"I’ve found they play four key roles as leaders in their organizations: orienteers keeping the organization pointed to True North, then navigators ensuring that decisions are well informed by the perspectives of all stakeholders and navigating the complex external and internal agendas that the organisation needs to satisfy. Catalysts in the value chain ensuring that relationships and reputations are actively negotiated with those who are most crucial to the organisations well-being. Finally, they are implementers of planned, interactive and re-active communication programmes and activities on behalf of their organisations.
In this world of huge challenges, with climate change, pandemics and political uncertainty, organizations need communicators to keep them safe. These four roles are crucial in that quest.
Organisations seek a ‘licence to operate’ from society as a whole. Its place, perceived purpose and actions determine whether it is supported by public opinion and hence by society, so its fundamental values, mission and ways of operating are examined and judgements passed on them.
Communication plays a role in helping the organisation clarify its purpose and intended actions by framing and testing these internally and externally. Its task is to ensure that the organisation behaves in line with its declared values – acting as the moral compass.
Managerial decisions at senior level are about organisational efficiency and effectiveness and the temptation here is to allow financial considerations to dominate so that there is a good return to shareholders or value for money in the public sector. The communication function can make a vital contribution by helping managers take decisions which have regard for the legitimate interests of all stakeholders in order to ensure that public support will be maintained. Navigating conflicting priorities between these groups is a key competence.
The communication professional will be in regular contact with those in the value chain who are directly involved with the organisation on a regular basis. Typically value chain stakeholders include customers, service users, delivery partners, suppliers, distributors, regulators, employees and the like - those close stakeholders we engage with every day. Communicators are engaged with them regularly and understand the ‘accountabilities’ they may exert on their organizations. Importantly, they can bring those external perspectives into the organisation to understand how relationships and reputation can be maintained and enhanced.
In this role communicators work with the other areas of the organisation on communication tasks. They will also coach and mentor colleagues throughout the organisation to be “communicatively competent” so that they can undertake these communication tasks themselves, or be alert to when they need to enlist the help of the specialists. This may mean planning specific programmes and campaigns, or providing ongoing advice. For example, they may work with the human resources department on communicating change programmes, or with the legal department in a crisis.
Identifying these different strategic roles helps to clarify the types of input that communicators can make to the organisation as a whole. It also shows that communication planning has to be seen within a broader organizational context and identifies, in a systematic way, which stakeholder groups will hold it to account."
Vill du veta mer? Anmäl dig till vår informationsfrukost om Communication Executives Program i Stockholm den 10 oktober, där Dr Anne Gregory kommer att berätta mer om kommunikationschefens roll och om programmets utformning 2020.
Anmäl dig till vår informationsfrukost om Communication Executives Program 2020 där Dr Anne Gregory kommer att berätta om kommunikationschefens roll och mer om programmet.