Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Perception matters

Why, as employee communicators, do we act grateful when we're invited to the meetings where key decisions are made?

Surely we should be one of those 'functions' that are first on the list when change is afoot in any business. Legal are always there, and HR, Public Affairs and often even the Marketing guys - but employee comms tends to get invited in only after the event to package the outcomes, dice them nicely and make them palatable to internal stakeholders.

I think it's because we don't present ourselves as well as we could. We're happier in our comfort zone as expert writers and editors and thus engage with business leaders as useful transactional functionaries.

It's much harder to step out of that role and really present a challenge to management: to ask the awkward questions, and be a real pain in the arse.........all in the pursuit of overcoming business issues.

But Legal don't have that problem, or HR or even Marketing - never mind our external communication colleagues. CEO's tend not to feel they know better than these 'niche' experts - and will generally engage with them in a more adult:adult conversation.

It's time we grew up and really flexed our muscles a bit - and started asking 'why' a bit more about the issues we're asked to handle. Risky? Perhaps, but the only way to show the real benefit we can bring to a business.

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