Some communicators are unhappy seeing communications as a business enabler or a support function to their organization. Perhaps they feel that the art of messaging is so verbal, so creative or different from everything else an organization does, that it must be a stand-alone, autonomous function.
Whatever the rationale, this attitude is factually misguided and professionally unhelpful. The essential truth is this: we don’t communicate just for the sake of communicating. Rather, we do it to help our organizations achieve their strategic objectives. Communications is a central support function for an organization because it’s the glue between what’s inside the corporate walls and the public outside. By definition, the communicator’s job is to advance corporate goals by spreading the right messages to the rightaudiences in the right ways. In doing so, you’re not just solving communications problems; you’re solving business problems.
The risks of failing to appreciate this integrated role of communications are significant. I have seen communications shops relegate themselves to being completely ghettoized because they are seen as irrelevant, unhelpful and (in some extreme cases) disruptive to achieving the organization’s goals. This, of course, is the kiss of death for the communications function—and for the career prospects of any communicator.
So what does this mean in practice? First, learn to talk the professional business ‘language’ of your colleagues in other departments, so you can show you understand where they’re coming from. And second, learn to ask the high-value questions that will help clarify everyone’s understanding of why initiatives are being undertaken and to what ends. These steps will help make you be recognized as a valuable contributor to your organization’s corporate goals. To set yourself up as a strategic communicator, check out the Results Map Handbook for Strategic Communications and Change.