This manual provides a road map to managing the new landscape of business communication and to your developing career. Whether you already are or hope to be a communication leader, there’s something in it for you. I’ve synthesized hundreds of studies that will help you understand and argue persuasively for the best practices in organizing, funding, assessing and leading a communication function. I’ve provided many actual examples of the approaches I’ve applied with my clients over the past several decades in my work rewiring—both conceptually and technically—the communication infrastructure. It’s full of real-life examples and templates, visual models that will help you synthesize complex ideas, and tools that you can put to use immediately whether you’re managing a small or large team. It will take you from high-level strategy to managing individual projects, and from framing your first management-level job to thinking about your next career move.
The opportunity to update the past two editions of this manual provided a welcome break from doing communication management to reflecting and updating my knowledge on it. In some ways, not much has changed in the nine years since I wrote the last version. Communication professionals are still trying to get a “seat at the table”—although recently, I think more of them have been worried about retaining any seat at all as organizations have become much leaner. Leaders are still fascinated by communication and recognize its importance even if they don’t quite understand it. But these days, they are tending just to jump on social media and get into the action rather than paying for an expensive consultant or developing a strategy. We’re still trying to find the best ways to organize communication staffs—although the trend now is clearly to align and centralize strategies and messages since the concepts of integrated marketing communication and branding have become recognized.
Finally, we’re still struggling to devise ways to measure communication ROI, but the good and bad news is that communication is faster and cheaper than ever so in some ways, the approach is to just do it. There’s been a lot of progress made in the last few years. The title of “chief communications officer” is spreading, and you can now find conferences and research reports that focus just on this elevated role and what CEOs expect of it. More communication professionals have explicit training in the field—often graduate degrees and/or significant professional education. No longer is this seen as a job that can be filled by people who just show an interest in communication or who need a parking spot while they wait to retire or are promoted. Most important, there are now many rigorous studies that show clear evidence that employee and customer engagement; transparent, easily accessible, timely and clear communication; and robust collaboration systems do lead to excellent organizational performance.
Table of contents
Chapter 1: The Developing Role of the Communication Function and Its Leader
Chapter 2: Positioning and Funding the Communication Function
Chapter 3: Assessing and Engineering the Communication Infrastructure
Chapter 4: Developing Your Communication Philosophy, Strategy and Standards
Chapter 5: Managing Communication Plans and Projects
Chapter 6: Working with Outside Resources
Chapter 7: Demonstrating Value to the Executive Suite
Chapter 8: Moving Your Department and Your Career Forward