This is a question my team and I worked to answer today. It’s a tough question for communicators to answer because as demand for your expertise grows, it is too easy to say “yes” to every project requested. As communicators, we are passionate and want to help our customers be strong communicators themselves. It tests our ability to balance and prioritize.
Ah, the word “prioritize”. The goal when one prioritizes projects, responsibilities, etc., is to put the most important, strategic, and high value work first. For my world, this is key to providing as much value to the business as possible, but as an advisor and communications expert versus being an order-taker.
Yet, as word leaks out that we do know what we are doing, people begin to come to the team for what can be called “low value work”. Examples include transcribing notes taken for articles and speeches, writing articles for 70 people versus finding a story that impacts 15,000 business employees, and being asked to handle tactical items that are buried down in the weeds. It’s quite easy to find yourself or your team drowning versus rising up as the strategic communications expert.
So, today my team and I sat down with lists of our projects and prioritized them. Questions asked included:
- What do we need to do maximize work at the higher levels that will impact, engage and benefit the business and its employees?
- How are we best serving our businesses?
- We decided to go back and ask the business leaders “How are we best serving you?” – again.
Decisions made included:
- Pushing back on busy work
- Stay customer focused
- Stay focused on our roles as strategic communicators, internal public relations professionals and internal marketing communication professionals
- Meet with the business leaders to explain and discuss how and why we are prioritizing in this manner (see above decisions and questions)
The above is just a sampling of our discussion, but we believe this will allow us to be the best we can be and create the most value for the business.
So let me know your thoughts, comments, and additional ideas as well as if you believe you are doing the right work.