Why accountability is the new black for Communication/PR professionals
Here’s an interesting question for you: what profession do you feel is the least trusted (generally speaking of course)?
There’s no doubt a couple of professions immediately spring to mind. Car sales people, real estate agents, insurance brokers, mortgage brokers, advertising people… and Communication/PR professionals. For those of us working in this field who are passionate about what gets us up out of bed each morning, it’s hard to digest that often, we’re considered as trustworthy as a car sales person. In my time, the terms “spin doctors” and “hollow men” have had quite a workout in relation to our industry and it’s hard to swallow because we know this is the exact opposite of what any respectable Communication/PR professional aspires to.
If our shared 60 years’ worth of experience tells us anything, it’s this: accountability will lead us to being more transparent, valued and respected. Before we go on, let’s take a look at the very definition of the word.
… the obligation and ability of an individual or organisation to account for its efforts, accept responsibility for them and to disclose the results in a transparent manner.
Right now, you’re probably looking at your screen blankly because you’re thinking this: I’m in Communication/PR – we lack the tools that enable us to be accountable. Unlike our marketing counterparts, we don’t have sales or leads and we can’t whip out those endless columns of ratios like our finance colleagues do.
Most of us love words and run away as fast as we can at the mere mention of numbers and calculations. Sure, we’re a profession based on words but that doesn’t mean we get to shrug off accountability altogether. Why is that a good thing?
If you’re a Manager, burning the candle at both ends as we Communication/PR people often do, being accountable will assist you in:
- Raising the standard of communication performance, practice and results within your department and organisation.
- Providing something solid to aim towards – how can the results communication is expected to achieve or the contribution required be established otherwise?
- Working smarter and more productively. Measurable and transparent Communication/PR is the way of the future.
Many Communication/PR professionals simply aren’t used to being held accountable and it’s only natural to expect a level of resistance for a number of reasons. Perhaps underperformers fear what measurables and accountability will mean for them when the dust settles. If people’s mindset isn’t quite where it needs to be, they may also take on a “why are we doing this if no one is asking us to?” philosophy and of course, increased transparency and accountability will always strike fear into the heart of Managers who are insecure. “Be careful what you wish for,” they’re likely to say.
Fact: it’s a challenge to be accountable.
Fact: accountability is the only way Communication/PR professionals can expect to garner the respect and support they expect and deserve from organisational decision makers.
Fact: new tools are available to help you to measure and track your performance in simple but effective ways.
It’s time to delve deeper than thinking social media activity can be measured in clicks, impressions, followers and likes – how about numbers, charts and graphs? When you dig a little deeper, you’ll discover there is so much more to our combined value beyond social media and The Communication Dividend is just the tool to help you do so.
Developed by Communication/PR professionals for Communication/PR professionals, this solution will lead your team to far more “aha” moments and hopefully, a lot less “argghh” moments. When you involve your team in setting goals and using metrics so that they can see how they’re performing, you’ll be amazed at the difference it’ll make to both your organisation and your team’s output and performance well into the long-term.
Are you ready to make you and your Communication/PR team accountable? Call us on 0427 755 296 or connect here.
By Deb Camden and Paul Cheal