There are a number of points in the evolution of a PR/Communication department at which my unique expertise is especially appreciated, such as when:
- A new CEO is hired;
- A new CCO comes on board;
- A merger of organizations is to occur, and two communication departments are to become one;
- An organization is transforming, and the communication department must change in parallel;
- A CCO recognizes that it is time to act, that the current structures, processes and operational practices are less than efficient and timeliness and productivity are recurring issues;
- A CCO recognizes that it is time to act, that the current roles, capabilities and service offerings are seen in the organization as less than effectively deployed and delivered; and
- A CCO has her or his own excellence agenda, with a vision built on the best practice theories of prominent scholars and successful CCOs.
In all these situations, the CCO needs a consulting partner. A partner who:
- Knows the relevant communication management scholarship and academic research;
- Has a deep understanding of the workings of the communication function and who has identified and benchmarked best practices;
- Has experience collaborating, on-site, with all levels of the organization;
- Brings a high degree of objectivity, respect and authority to the engagement, given a recognized and admired track record; and
- Brings a high level of discretion to these engagements (engagements that are sensitive, since they’ll lead to major changes in the department).
A partner to provide Review Services:
CCOs have hired me to conduct objective, expert and insightful reviews, including assessments of the department’s strategic alignment, mandate and value proposition, its accountabilities, roles and service offerings, its reporting structure and unit organization, its capabilities and resourcing and/or its core competencies and performance. These reviews usually include C-suite and management interviews, benchmarking against industry better practices and against scholarly theory as well as facilitation of department staff root-cause problem identification focus group sessions. Ultimately, a solid, objective review drives negotiations toward department and executive suite agreement on where and how the department brings value to the organization. Agreement on what’s valuable then powers mission statements, policies, resource allocations, MOUs, SLAs, performance contracts, etc. These review exercises are called THE LIKELY PR/C VALUE REVIEW.
A partner to provide Consultancy Services:
CCOs have hired me to develop and put in place mechanisms and tools to improve the management of the department, including strategic mission statements, business models, organizational redesigns, performance measurement frameworks and various types of business plans. Typically, this development includes working with project teams and the facilitation of staff development and learning sessions. This consultancy work is called THE LIKELY PR/C HOME IMPROVEMENT SERVICE.
A partner to provide Advisory Services:
CCOs have hired me to provide counsel through a transformation, to provide subject matter expertise (SME) on change initiatives and to provide staff with training and the CCO with coaching and a listening post. I’ve been a subject matter expert on staff task forces, presented review findings and recommendations at board and senior management meetings, facilitated department retreats, transferred knowledge in advanced professional development sessions and a discreet advisor to the CCO. These advisory services are called THE LIKELY PR/C SME COACH.
In order to carefully guard client confidences and respect their interests, I do not publicize the specific work I do for our clients and don’t promote the firm at their expense. As a result, I enjoy a high level of client loyalty, especially when asked to accept additional and return engagements. Each client assignment starts and is built upon a relationship of mutual trust. Besides bringing the greatest degree of specialized knowledge and focused experience to client locations, I also bring the enjoyment of working closely with PR/C department CCOs and managers on management challenges important to them.
My consulting work as part of Likely Communication Strategies, a firm a partner and I founded in 1987, has helped scores of PR/Communication departments transform and reinvent. Over 300 consulting assignments have been completed in the private, public and non-profit/NGO sectors, involving identifying and implementing improvements to the PR/C department direction, alignment, strategies, service delivery, structure, organization, operations, performance, resource allocation and leadership, utilizing various tools such as management reviews, organizational assessments, resource studies, benchmarking studies, communication audits, strategic planning, change management, coaching, facilitation and training. I’ve worked with PR/Communication departments and CCOs in various levels of government, in privately held corporations, in publically traded corporations, in multi-nationals, in regionally-based businesses, in government arms-length agencies, in banks, insurance companies and utilities, in blood donor agencies and in an assortment of NGOs and not-for-profit agencies.
From day one, the vision was to run a small, niche management consultancy – specializing in the management of the PR/Communication department. My research, consulting, training and teaching has focused on the PR/C department and its management practices. Not only do I have the wonderful opportunity to consult with dozens of forward-looking and change-oriented CCO clients, I greatly benefit from the research, analysis and brainstorming with PR/C academic and consultant thought leaders – leading worthy research projects and producing papers, industry reports and conference presentations. Earning this insiders reputation is significant in two ways. First, it helps me to be up to speed with leading-edge thinking. Second, it helps others, when a CCO is seeking assistance for a particular communication management problem, to think of and recommend me.
PR/C department management: my area of expertise; my passion