Saturday, September 28, 2013

Communicators, Manage Projects & Lead People for better Trust

Over the years I have adopted a job responsibilities mix that I seem to be sharing with many colleagues in communications.Here it is, ranked by effort:

  1. Project management.
  2. Corporate adviser function.
  3. External adviser function.
  4. Managing people.
What I like about this mix is that the top three functions are about leadership. I oversee the external communications center at RIA Novosti which has two full time employees, an adviser and a project manager. You can see the structure is fractal. Having less people to manage and focusing on projects allows for more leadership practice.

I am sure that the more people you manage, the less you can be a leader for them. And that the the more you manage people, the less you are a leader for them.

Being an external adviser is a very important element in corporate advocacy and building trust, both inside and outside the company. This involves collaborating in industrial associations and work groups, sitting on jury panels of awards and contests, blogging, tweeting, speaking at conferences.

Implications for business are evident. So, the bottom line is that such leadership is a proper way for a communicator to contribute to the company's bottom line.

These are the highlights of my coming presentation at the WCF Davos | Prague conference.

UPD: Hat tip to Archana Verma for her RT of a very inspiring quote by Grace Hopper: "You manage thngs, you lead people." Pretty much sums up the above.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Mechanics of a Hobby - is PR Profession to Blame?

On this rainy and cold morning at the dacha it has suddenly become clear to me. My recent obsession with all handy things mechanical has a logical explanation.

A year ago I brought back from a trip to London a vintage folding Kodak camera, made in the 50s. It took some fiddling to make the back cover work. Otherwise the camera was in good condition.

Since then my collection has grown to over a dozen of cameras, mostly Soviet-made replicas and originals - brands like Zenit, Zorky, Smena and FED. My son and co-workers contributed by buying and consigning more vintage stuff, respectively.

I display the collection in my office. Not only it facilitates some good conversations and helps to break the occasional ice, it also tends to reduce stress from work.

A mechanical device such as a working vintage photo camera has a number of levers, buttons, switches and optical elements that immediately respond to your command. It is this predictable and immediate action, all man-made, that fascinates me.

The logic behind the fascination is fairly easy. In PR, results come in complex spring-like chain of actions, agreements and attitudes, stretched over time and space. Sometimes this may be testing for your confidence.

Mechanical cameras seem to restore your confidence by providing instantaneous and intelligent tactile feedback. And mind you, you don't even have to use them for real.