As an organization or individual professional, when should you take a public political stand? What are the risks and benefits? Who will you alienate or support by your statements?
If you haven’t done clear branding work, these questions will be tough to answer. Branding is not simply developing a logo. (That’s just an outcome.) Branding means defining who you are as an organization, figuring out who you serve, and understanding why you do what you do. Your brand should support your mission–it’s your organizational promise.
Taking a strong stand on a controversial political topic is risky, but depending on who you are as a business, it can be one worth taking.
This blog post is a little outside my usual subject matter, but I wanted to share some thoughts to inspire you to go after what you really want. Lately, I’ve been running into smart, talented people who feel stuck in jobs they hate, and this makes me sad. I know it’s hard to change careers. We all invest time and develop expertise in a field, and we get used to the money that comes with our experience. Maybe you simply need a new job in the same industry, but maybe it’s more than that. Maybe it’s time to go after your dreams, no matter how scary or seemingly impractical.
Maybe it’s time to go after your dreams, no matter how scary or seemingly impractical.
In public relations, it’s important to pay attention to the news as it pertains to your business. Although you don’t need to respond to the majority of news stories, when a topic gets hot, it’s worth asking yourself, “Should my organization take a position on this? Do we have policies that protect us from being swept up in the public frenzy? Can we provide leadership?”
Sometimes we miss the easy things. In our mad dash to find new customers, we forget to appreciate the ones we have. When I’m working with new clients who want to grow their businesses, one of the first exercises I do is to make concentric circles of all the people they should communicate with on a regular basis. Think of this as the dartboard of communication, with a big, red bullseye in the middle.
Oddly enough, the two groups who belong in the bullseye often get left out when I ask, “Who are your target audiences?”
What if you could spend just ten minutes a day on an activity that was guaranteed to lift your mood, as well as improve the mood, productivity, and loyalty of those you work with? Probably worth it, right?
When I was the communications director at a hospital, the hospital had a contract with the Studer Group, an organization that helps healthcare organizations continually improve, clinically and financially. One of the Studer Group’s many directives required executives and directors to send thank you notes to workmates and employees—not once in a while to recognize exceptional behavior, but weekly or even daily to let people know how much we appreciated both the big things and the little things they did.
My boss provided grids so we could record how often we sent thank you notes and to whom. I felt like Big Brother was watching me and, honestly, I was a little resentful that I had to report my thank you note completion rate to the CEO. But, since I wanted to remain employed, I got with the program. I bought personalized thank you cards and started to look for people who needed thanking.
And that’s when the magic started.
Many successful people continually strive to improve. They ask themselves (and others), “What can I do better? How can I get stronger? What’s the best way to out-perform my opponents? How can I achieve more?”
These are useful questions to be sure, but too often the answers focus on improving weaknesses rather than capitalizing on strengths. If you’re an extrovert, you’re going to have a hard time enjoying uninterrupted quiet time more than your introverted colleagues. If you’re a big-picture person, you probably won’t become the most detail-oriented person in your company. Or as one of my more creative friends suggested, “You don’t want to race a goat up a mountain if you’re a fish.”
How many times have you thought, “If only I had a few more hours in the day, I could get all this work done.”? I hear you. As I think about all the competing responsibilities vying for my time and attention, I have a hard time figuring out how to fit it all in.
So, what if we refused to fit it all in? What if we simply crossed a few things off the list?
I know this sounds radical, but stay with me for a moment. Imagine an alternative to your current stressed-out, guilt-ridden state of being. What if you made two lists–the things you must do to keep you and your family breathing, and the things you’ve committed to do (for one reason or another)?