Understanding the value of the communications function


If you’re planning a retreat for your communications team (and if you’re not – why aren’t you?) here’s a suggestion for an easy, but powerful exercise to offer the group.

The Value Proposition Worksheet is a simple tool that can be used in either a breakout or plenary format. The worksheet helps structure an exploration of the unique value that the communications team brings to the organization – and having used the model dozens of times, I am struck that this is almost always a brand new conversation for a communications team.

One of the most instructive parts of the exercise is to consider the absence test: if the communications team were surgically removed from your organization, what would the consequence be? What would be the pain points?

Another approach is to have your team review your organization’s vision and mission statement. Now ask yourselves: how can your organization achieve these goals without communicating? Almost certainly, there is no way for it to happen without communicating something, to someone, somehow. Metaphorically, if your organization is a car and its strategy is its direction, communications is the ignition… and you’re going nowhere without it.

Viewing your organization’s highest goals from the lens of communications as an enabler is often a useful technique to get a clear, objective understanding of the strategic importance of the function.

Considering absence sharpens the mind around true value. This may be the first step in unlocking more strategic, value-added conversations and collaborations with your colleagues across the organization.

I invite you to try it with your teams – and please share your stories of the results!

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