The practice of communication has radically changed. Today, the media, processes, messages, times, routines, preferences, and interactions with each message are very varied. The audience remains the same but reacts differently. In just two decades, social communication is different from what was imposed for two centuries. This significant change also came to transforming the communications offices, the teams, and especially the leaders. That is why the question is appropriate. Communication must adapt to the present and must change for the future, or organizations will fail.
The communications leader usually has two profiles among the people of the organization. The first, the very busy professional, unattainable for the organization’s employees. Who only deals with the transcendental issues of external communication. Swimming in the stormy seas of the day-to-day, and only if the internal project is significant, he could get to intervene. The second, an amicable professional who pays more attention to all the requirements of the people in the organization, who paddles in the calm waters of internal public relations to make his fellow employees feel good. He is actively involved in every project and is often highly appreciated. They exist because organizations have shaped them. Each one has sold his management idea as their duty to the nature of the organization. The truth is that the efficient communications leader is neither the one nor the other but a mixture of the two empowered by attributes indispensable for modern communication times.
For 20 years, communications were radically transformed by full entry of the Internet, the appearance of social networks, and the incorporation of these in smartphones. So much was the change that traditional media had to adapt to survive. At the same time, external communication in organizations changed radically. The reality required new professionals or at least proficient in the new features. That renewed the communication teams and, of course, the leaders. The change painfully discriminated between communicators and created two categories that were traditional and innovative. Today in organizations, they still exist, and the truth is that the challenges have shown that neither the creative nor the traditional is so bad. The best is the one who manages to overcome the four significant typical defects and incorporates the six attributes of effectiveness and high performance that we will see below.
FOUR COMMUNICATOR FAULTS
To a greater or lesser extent, most communicators tend to make four mistakes when doing their work. The faults are easiness, superficiality, comfort, and overacting. No matter the size, type of organization, or professional profile, these vices are seen to a greater or lesser degree.
1. Easiness is the tendency of the leader to carry out his work under the law of the minor or with little effort. It is applying in tasks such as planning, creation, execution, improvement, and indicators.
2. Superficiality is the belief to make decisions with little information or basic knowledge when the event requires more preparation. It is manifested by the aversion to looking at numbers, data, statistics, reading studies on the subject, analyzing or knowing case studies when delving is required.
3. Comfort manifests itself as doing or taking the path that requires the least effort, the one with less complexity, although the results are low and may be greater with more work. It is to endure the state of comfort and settle for little.
4. Overreaction is the tendency of communicators to confuse results with effort. They usually generate and show much action that is not reflected in the indicators but that they advertise as an outstanding achievement of their work.
SIX ATTRIBUTES OF AN EFFICIENT COMMUNICATOR
Now that we have diagnosed the deficiencies, let us be proactive in the model of leader that a government, private, or non-profit organization needs. To adopt and develop the attributes of effectiveness, the communicator must leave behind the four defects and become a complete element prepared to play an efficient role to be the communication manager in current times. The attributes are analytical skills, global vision, demonstrable experience, digital or traditional comprehensiveness, criteria and positions, and, lastly, relationship with all types of actors in the organization.
1. Capacity for analysis, the communicator must be an analytical person capable of taking any input and converting it into variables, formulas, or lines of action for decision-making in communications matters. It is the antipode of the defect of superficiality.
2. Global vision refers to the virtue of contemplating all the edges of an event to plan a strategy that impacts the different aspects of the objective. It is also the ability to act correctly in the internal and external communications of the organization. It is to apply with authority the goals of communication, to understand the communicative circle. Understand that communication is not limited to handling the press. This attribute is the opposite of superficiality.
3. Demonstrable experience refers to the training, knowledge, experience, and motivation to be the communications leader. It is crucial that you have experiential expertise in crisis management, program launching, project management, supplier management, holding events, among others. Many communicators offer competencies they don’t have, and organizations don’t verify. They realize the failure when it is too late.
4. Communicative comprehensiveness is the attribute that allows being digital or traditional with knowledge and authority. It is mastering all formats and creating content in all of them. Apply the precise criteria in each project that requires transmedia strategies. It is to be able to exercise the tasks of the content editor in any medium or format. It is the opposite of comfort.
5. Judging and Opinions have become a rare virtue that is highly required in modern communications. Every day organizations and decision-makers that engage in communication in an organization expect their leader to have and communicate their criteria on an issue. They hope the head of communications to have their positions developed based on the culture and performance of the organization. Having people with standards who can support their positions in a communication department is very important because they exercise their work of reference, advice, or advice to other executive actors.
6. Relationship with Stakeholders is the competence to establish and maintain relationships with actors that surround the organization and that, in one way or another, intervene in the communication, positioning, or reputation of the entity. A good communicator knows how to relate to the first level of the company or the president. He knows how to value the participation of each actor in corporate life and thereby be an effective and clear channel at all times.
The new challenges posed by modern communication with all its advances require communicators to update, train, educate and empower themselves as protagonists in the six attributes. Many have already done it, but they have no place in organizations because those who hire have not done the same and continue to think about the outdated models of communication leaders. It is imperative that in organizations, those who hire or evaluate also modernize. Many of the processes of change are stagnant because recruiters do not understand modernity and play old-fashioned. This situation means that many communication managers are professionals from the past who have well-trained and competent teams of professionals that do not produce as they should.
READ HERE: EFFICIENCY IN THE WORK OF THE COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE IS BASED ON FIVE PILLARS. IF THESE ARE ENGAGED, SUCCESS WILL COME SURE https://bit.ly/3k12Dkj
A decade ago, communication stopped with specific schedules and the media leading the information cycle. Today almost that does not exist. Communication today is a non-stop activity that can generate a crisis at any time without a newsletter from a medium or while the majority of the audience sleeps. Night or day is equally intense, even if the commercial or corporate world is closed. To have a crisis or the rejection of a plan, only enough for a few on social networks to say so, and generate a snowball that is necessary to intervene. As we have seen, that does not have schedules. Today the ways of attacking a crisis are equally different. Some media is used first, others that are used later, and others with which the crisis is closed. Some actions are organic, and others are paid. At the same speed as the event, some opinion generators can help or aggravate it, and you have to know them, have relationships with them, and learn how to summon them. Complementing the formats is more important than ever, and speed is decisive.
The challenges of communication in modern times go beyond the crisis and its immediacy. We are in times of many communication possibilities of the so-called new media that offer organizations many options to connect with their audiences. There are so many possibilities that not even the same social media companies know how to use them. Innovative or up-to-date communicators may are equipping better to use them. Who today leads teams if they will have the ability to guide them? Let us remember that the traditional media have not disappeared, and although decimated in their importance, they still retain some powers that we must use. That is why integrality where neither the digital native nor the dinosaur is better by themselves.
Finally, it is worth suggesting that organizations do studies on jobs and the people in them to see if communication is in good hands. It is not about firing or changing the leader immediately. It is necessary to apply the ET-DC model, which is to Evaluate, Train-Demand, Change it. To learn more about communication leaders and their performance, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, tell me about your project or need, and I will surely help you.