I WORK WITH CHIEF COMMUNICATIONS OFFICERS
& SENIOR PR/COMMUNICATION EXECUTIVES...
Senior PR/Communication department Heads/CCOs require a set of management tools with which to govern communication across the organization and to manage the PR/Communication function. These tools should draw on industry best practices as well as scholarly theory, yet be customized to the uniqueness of her or his organization and the different attributes of the PR/C department.
Chief Communication Officers benefit, both from the creation process and from the institutionalization of a tool that can withstand the need for constant revision. These tools can range from a business case, alignment logic model and value chain, business model, vision, mission and mandate statement, policy, strategic management planning framework, core competency and service offerings statement, organizational design chart, service level agreement, performance management and measurement framework, KPIs and a balanced scorecard type scorecard.
My work builds consensus and solidifies accountabilities.
Why consensus building? Typically, I like to structure this engagement to include a client side project team of one to three staff members. Working together, I bring to our meetings industry best practices and tacit knowledge to share and they bring the understanding of the culture and buy-in process of the organization. Our joint goal is a framework, policy, plan, strategy document, statement or scorecard - a governance and management tool that is customizable to the department’s needs and is fully implementable. The process we take to produce the tool is important for the success of its staged approval and implementation.
What triggers a need for a new or a revamped tool?
The CCO may have been given approval to integrate other communication units (say for HR communication or marketing communication or CSR communication) into one PR/Communication department and requires new governance and management tools by which to exercise her or his authorities. Or, the CCO may be adding scope - new responsibilities and services to meet demand - and requires new management, organizational and service level tools to institutionalize new structures, roles and processes. Or, a new CCO may be up against a perception in the C-Suite that the PR/C function was underperforming and delivering less than desired value-for-money and requires a suite of performance management and performance measurement tools to affirm that a renewed department is doing the right things, and doing the right things right.
Having work closely with an array of PR/C departments over the years, developing and implementing a variety of management tools, I bring to each engagement recognized expertise as well as the enjoyment of working with and transferring knowledge to department professionals.
Case Study: PR/C Department Performance Measurement Framework
The CCO was under the gun to create and execute a well-rounded performance measurement program that would fit within the organization’s balanced scorecard-type strategic management framework. Her current list of research and measurement suppliers, specialized in reputation monitoring, media monitoring, social media monitoring, market research or public relations agency campaign evaluation, didn’t have the expertise in the ‘balanced’ aspects (financial/stewardship; internal business process; organizational capacity; customer/stakeholder) of a balanced scorecard.
Furthermore, the CCO wanted to have her department’s performance scorecard recognize the multi level PR measurement model stemming from the work of Dr. Jim Grunig and the IABC Excellence study team. They proposed measuring at five levels: communication product & channel/media (outputs; distribution & audience outtakes); communication campaign (outcomes: audience changes); communication department (quality; effectiveness & efficiency); organization (impact: financial); society (outgrowth: relationships; reputation).
Likely Communication Strategies was contracted to work with the CCO and management team.
Likely Communication Strategies began by pursuing an understanding of the BSC model in use across the organization, how it evolved, how it was applied across different departments particularly staff functions and how the PR/C was expected to contribute.
Next, we assessed the department’s current performance measurement categories against the model and against the Grunig model, by conducting interviews, conducting a documentation and data stream review and through observations.
We worked with a small project team to design draft logic model, value chain, management accountability frameworks and performance measurement model prototypes with options and then ‘workshopped’ these with the full department in a retreat setting. After each day’s sessions, we worked into the night to take the feedback and adjust the prototypes, for discussion in the next day’s sessions.
Once department staff reached a consensus on what could be measured - where, when and how and at what cost in time and resources – with those choices fitting within the BSC and the Grunig categories, we worked with the CCO to finalize the department’s performance measurement framework.
The well-rounded framework meshed with the categories in the organization’s scorecard and gave the C-suite an unprecedented and holistic view of the work – and the ramifications of that work – performed by the PR/C department. Likely Communication Strategies was involved at the three month, six month and one year anniversaries to provide a review of success to date and to provide counsel on any implementation challenges.
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