This is a question I’ve worked with others to answer on a regular basis. 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, when finding yourself being overwhelmed, sit down with your lists of projects and prioritize them. Questions to ask include:
- What do you need to do to maximize work at the higher levels that will impact, engage and benefit the business and its employees?
- How are you best serving your businesses?
- Go back and ask the business leaders “How are we best serving you?” – again.
Decisions you may make include:
- Pushing back on busy work
- Staying customer focused
- Staying focused on your role as a strategic communicator, internal public relations professional and internal marketing communication professional
- Meeting with the business leaders to explain and discuss how and why you are prioritizing in this manner (see above decisions and questions)
The above is just a sampling, but this will allow you to be the best you 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.
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