Every business has a Public Relations machine. The definition of Public Relations (PR) is the managing of internal and external communication of an organization to create and maintain a positive image.
Public relations may involve popularizing successes, downplaying failures, announcing changes, and many other activities; but ethical P.R. practitioners can also convince companies to work more closely with its various publics and form win-win relationships.
Notice the emphasis on “managing communications to create and maintain a positive image”. Now note the extended definition: ethical P.R. practitioners can also convince companies to work more closely with its various publics and form win-win relationships. The social web presents both significant opportunities and threats to the historical definition and practices of PR.
Given that the web is the “big social copy machine in the sky” corporate performance and communications with customers and employees has become transparent. This transparency increases the demand on quality in terms of service or product performance levels as well as promises to keep expected experiences at “must be, more than and delighted” levels. This new dynamic is and will continue to increase the demand for quality management practices required to produce the performance expectations of employees and customers.
What Can Management Do?
Quality gurus created a revolution in past management practices and brought about such terms and practices as TQM, SPC, Six Sigma, Balanced Score Card, Re-engineering and the buzz words became the corporate mantra of the day. After 20+ years of indoctrination the practices and the responsibility for quality performance and all the jargon and practices has been delegated down from the top of the organization to the bottom. Leadership has delegated its responsibility to shareholders, suppliers, employees, customers and markets to others who do not have the authority to change or improve anything. If the numbers aren’t good leadership simply screams “Change something or else!”
Driven by fear and the desire to gain favor and power management pursues solutions to problems aimed at creating better “numbers”. The people are ordered to execute new changes while they, the people, know very well the change won’t work. The culture is not social and thus rarely does the organization understand the truths behind the problems and thus the solutions never really address root causes and create permanent fixes that changes “the peoples” experience to the better. The problems remain even when attempts to change the numbers, create spin control or focus the conversation elsewhere are used as a public relations effort. PR became spin control to influences the masses.
The old game of PR spin is over and there is a new “game” in town. The new game is called Socialutions and it is about adopting a new philosophy about “how” businesses can not only improve the satisfaction of all “the people” it serves but rather exceeds “the people” expectations and turns “all the people” into “the biggest PR machine in the sky” that fuels win win relationships. A win win relationship starts by listening and ends with needed changes identified by the conversations, open, honest and with no spin.
The alternative is to simply continue to let “the peoples” leverage their new influence against your inability or unwillingness to change. However, businesses must recognize that the power of the people has been enhanced significantly and their PR machines is and will continue to be bigger and better than anything you can create by yourself. Get it?
Oh, one last but critical thing. The fundamental change required to succeed with Socialutions is a transformation in thinking my leadership and a change in practices by management, the culture. The people have already changed and are simply waiting for you to change.
What say you?