I think most communications professionals would agree that clients who constantly have urgent, “must do now” issues are a big drain on our brains and energy.
They sap our creativity and make it impossible for us to do the great work we know we could be doing for them.
A colleague on LinkedIn recently asked what I thought the right balance of time might be for our industry on planned activities versus the “random one-off requests you jump for.” A 90/10 split is my idea of heaven, but I was curious what others might say so I recommended she conduct a LinkedIn poll. While the results represent a small, scientifically insignificant sample, they did give her insight into what’s “really going on” out there. The majority said 60/40.
I was surprised by the number and a little bummed out. She was glad to know she wasn’t alone.
But I do think it represents a golden opportunity for us to guide clients more strategically.
I hear a lot of PR pros say senior leaders don’t understand the complexity of our work. A request that may seem like a simple ask (like a press release or an all-staff email), requires us to consider myriad possible implications before we can even begin to address it.
We can close the gaps in understanding by boldly educating our key internal stakeholders on just what an ask requires. More importantly, if we have the knowledge, skills, and tools to lead them through the strategic communications planning process, we’ll get everyone on the same page about the priorities for the business, our work to support it, and why what may seem like a big deal, actually isn’t (and we all know it usually isn’t).
It’s so important – especially when resources are limited – to set firm boundaries around our time so we have the space for mental clarity and creativity. This will allow us to not only work the plan but also manage the 10% of fires we know will inevitably surface (hey, a girl can dream🙂).
My #1 passion is to help every communications professional work and think more strategically so we can all create the kind of work and life we love.
If you’re so over the one-offs and are ready to improve your proactive to reactive ratio but aren’t sure you can do it alone, let’s talk. I want to hear what’s on your mind and share how we can work together so you can become the trusted advisor organizations need and create the space to do the powerful, needle-moving work you know you can do.