Working papers for public review and comment

Please find below the latest working papers from the three working groups.
These are working documents, thoughts and views are welcomed.

  1. Organisational Character Group: working paper (first draft)
  2. Listening Group: working paper (reviewed draft).
  3. Responsibility Group: working paper (first draft).

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5 Responses to Working papers for public review and comment

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  3. PR Refresh says:

    Jim McNamara used the term ‘architecture of listening’ in his keynote address at the 2012 PRINZ conference in Auckland. I like the listening paper as it makes us think hard about how we are promoting an architecture within our organisations and clients. As McNamara pointed out, we have clear structures around getting messages out to stakeholders but are often lacking in systems and processes for how we listen to those same people. I look forward to reading and hearing more on this topic.

  4. toni muzi falconi says:

    This, in my opinion, is a very relevant contribution.
    I don’t necessarily agree with everything Emilio says, nor do I think he has said everything.
    But it certainly looks to me like a turning point in our discussion.

    I don’t know to what question he was referring to when he opens saying ‘You ask “How do communicators help CEOs define and lead these new organizations?”.
    In any case he is entirely correct in claiming that the CEO is only one a pr professional’s primary interlocutors.
    I like the grunighian term of ‘dominant coalition’ that, for me, is the coalition of those managers who decide on a specific issue, and therefore is –by definition- situational.
    This approach also ensures that pr professionals don’t only worry about general, strategic, corporate objectives, but are relevant and add value to the pursue of every single tactical objective as well.

    I am not enthusiastic about being an ombudsman… as we are deinfitely and unequivocally on one side (our employer/client) but the way Emilio describes the function is excellent. It is in the interest of the client/employer to voice stakeholder expectations amongst internal decision makers.
    Again, having well understood, that this is only part of our role.

    The Indipendent Litmus Test seems to me a vivid and valuable description that, once more, relates however not only to strategic, but also to tactical objectives.

    As for the last part about responsibility I have the impression Emilio was in a hurry and took a short cut.
    Credibility is but a product of Responsibility. I can be credible as a person, but not as a professional; or credible as a professional but if working for an organization that is not, I lend my credibility to it; and how often do we as professionals become credible only if we work with credible organizations….
    So it is a bit more complicated.

    What is missing however is that while credibility of source and credibility of content (together with familiarity of the latter) are the three major kpi’s of effective communication that can be tested before rolling our both source and contents and then tested after to measure communication effectiveness, there is no mention by Emilio about the other fundamental variable that is much more important than communication which is the quality of stakeholder relationships. This also needs to be tested before and after rollout of the engagement and dialogue process with the four kpi’s of committmen, trust, satisfaction and power balance in the relationship.
    thank yu emilio, for coming into the discussion.

  5. Comment from Emilio Galli-Zugaro:

    You ask “How do communicators help CEOs define and lead these new organizations?” This question shows a top-down idea of an organization which to me is only credible when it is an entrepreneurial organization owned by the CEO. But in stock-listed companies, for example, I would start to question this approach. The CEO is strong if he is the mouthpiece and catalyst of all stakeholder interests. Therefore the communicators role should not be limited to the CEO. I would substitute the word “CEO” with the word “leadership of the company”.

    On organizational character: the role of communicators could be defined as an ombudsman for the stakeholders, of which for simplicity’s sake I only use four (employees, customers, shareholders, society at large). I believe that a corporation derives a sustainable licence to operate from its value proposition to its four stakeholders. This value proposition should trascend the gilded-framed “Corporate Value” lists or the “Strategy, Vision, Mission Statement” and all this nice stuff. The value proposition means there is a measurable, transparent promise to each stakeholder arising from the profit-driven business purpose of the company. This promise should be explicit, its success (or lack of) should be measured with real KPIs, every leader (not only the CEO!) should have clear, measurable, accountable targets with respective KPIs that address all four stakeholders. The communicators in such an organization should then be the guardians of consistency between the promises to stakeholders, the stakeholders’ expectations (here we come to the importance of listening) and the delivery on these promises. Or, in one term: The Ombudsman of Stakeholders.

    Creating a culture of listening and engagement: there has to be a two-prongued approach. On one hand communicators should (in their role of Ombudsman of Employees -one of the four stakeholders) make sure there is consistency in HR practices with the identification of listening as an important skill for employees and leaders. Therefore check whether Recruiting, Talent Development and Performance Measurement as core practices of HR consider listening abilities as a core element for new hires, developing empathy as a core element for development etc etc. The second part is what I call the Indipendent Litmus Tests.

    Communicators have the unpleasant role to always come up with the mirror of neutral and objective intelligence and monitoring on the stakeholders’ sentiments (whether through social media dialogue, traditional market research, media analysis, stakeholder surveys, etc etc). That’s the Independent Litmus Test.

    Personal, organizational and professional responsibility: there is one core responsibility that -in my eyes- sums up the three categories. The communicator’s responsibility is the credibility of the corporation. He’s the ultimate personal, professional and organizational gatekeeper of credibility of an organization. How it deals with mistakes, failures, successes etc.
    Every communicator who signs the Melbourne Mandate and be asked what the hell the responsibility of a communiucator is, should answer: My Responsibility is Credibility.

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