Saturday, September 12, 2009

reboot and remove: stop doing something

In my first public relations job, I stormed into my boss's office one day to complain about all the overtime I was putting in. His reaction? "Stop doing it and see whether anyone notices, besides you."

Too often, when we're thinking about how to reorganize or reboot a communications operation or plan, it's all about the moving: Move this task to this unit, move this person across the hall to another team, consolidate everybody. Or, in other instances, keep moving, keep busy, keep at it. I excelled at that, according to my boss...but the only person who thought it was needed was me.

Instead, why not think about removing something from your array of services? Letting go of tasks and projects may be a more effective way to rejuvenate your communications (and solves that eternal complaint that people can't find time to do one more thing). Here's an elegant post by Joe Bonner that takes the musings of a social media CEO about removing the rear brake on his bike and translates the idea to a communications shop: Ask why you're doing what you're doing, and stop doing it if it's no longer effective. I think this is especially true today, with all the new options out there (and still in development) for how we communicate on behalf of organizations and companies.

Removing--tasks, units, approaches, familiar routines--causes lots of upheaval, especially in these uncertain times. So communications leaders should be anticipating that they'll need to introduce other supports, such as cross-training or across-the-board re-training, to help staff members make the adjustment. And why not engage teams in the brainstorming about which brakes to remove? What could you accomplish with the budget for, say, a print magazine or annual report if you stopped doing them? Is there another, better way to accomplish that goal--or can you just stop and move on to something new and different? Finally, here's a last, best test: Stop doing it and see whether anybody notices. Worked for me--and let me focus my energies in a concentrated way on the things that did matter to the people I was serving.

Related posts: New media adapters: The annual report revs up

Trying an audio annual report

2009's communications changes: 8 tests to stay current

No comments: