by Gerard Braud
Corporate public relations moves too slow.
Not a day goes by that I don’t have a phone call with a public relations person who is telling me what they can’t do and why they can’t do it. This trend concerns me gravely.
I call this getting ready to get ready to get started to begin.
Wow. I would hate to live like that, which is why I don’t work within a corporation. Having been a corporate V.P., I can tell you such behavior was never allowed in my department. It was not allowed from those who reported to me, nor did I allow people to give me excuses on why we couldn’t do what needed to be done.
Granted, in any endeavor in life and business, I value the ready, aim, fire approach. However, each step should have a reasonable time limit. Strategic planning, for example, seems to just keep dragging on for so many public relations colleagues I speak to. They never find the target at which to aim and they are slow to fire. They are stuck in ready. Dare I say, many are getting ready to get ready to get started to begin.
Boldly, I’ll predict that 50% of all activities in corporations are a complete waste of time. What do you think? Ask yourself, “How long have we dragged out or waited for a strategic plan to be developed before we could make a move?” When all that strategic collaboration was completed, did you really learn anything significant that you didn’t know? Did you figure out anything that you couldn’t have strategized on your own – and in a shorter period of time?
How often has a project come to a halt because your company is going through reorganization? Did that reorganization make the organization better? Seldom does it get better, it just gets slower. Usually it is the equivalent of rearranging the proverbial chairs on the deck of the Titanic.
Are you operating in slow motion?
Are you letting your company keep you from doing what you know should be done?
Are you letting your company keep you from being the professional you should be?
Are you a floor mat for your corporation to wipe their feet on?
As a former news guy, I can tell you we moved at the speed of seconds. When a crisis hits, we’re on the story and we were on you. Meanwhile, PR people, and especially the corporate bosses, think you can move at your own good ol’ pace. They fall into decision paralysis, which I’ll define as making no decision at the fear of making the wrong decisions, which sadly, is always the wrong decision. They fall into paralysis by analysis, which means weighing too many factors that don’t need to be weighed. Meanwhile, your reputation and revenue are going to hell as detractors and the media take the organization to task.
Public relations people and corporate leaders can see a crisis on the horizon, yet they are slow in planning their response and they are slow to respond. Meanwhile, aggressive opponents are generating negative news about the organization, harming reputation and revenues.
And all that social media that you love in PR… it is often really bad for you in a crisis. It accentuates and escalates your crisis. Social media, in many cases, further damages your reputation and revenues. Why is it public relations people want to use it for good PR, yet ignore its potential negative effects in a crisis?
I challenge you: Pick one PR project and fast track it. When you get done, tell me how it feels. I expect to hear back from you in 24 hours.