Earlier this week the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand hosted a senior practitioners’ workshop, with the title “Doing well + doing good”.
There were five speakers during the day – David Raper from IBM, focusing on corporate citizenship and social responsibility, Sue McCabe from Community Comms Collective, talking about volunteering and helping others, me, talking about bringing our best communications game to hard social challenges, Kirsten Patterson from the Institute of Directors, talking about not-for-profit governance, and Savannah Peterson, talking about purpose and community.
It was a brilliant chance for us all to reflect on how to use our power for good.
My contribution was around being the best communication practitioner we can be. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the years, it’s that being good at this gig is hard.
“Problems worthy of attack prove their worth by attacking back” – Bill Novelli
Bill Novelli, one of the founders of Porter Novelli, said it well: problems worthy of attack prove their worth by attacking back. This means that the big problems – the ones we really want to be tackling – are tough. And when you try to take them on, you will always meet with some resistance.
The best weapon we can possibly take to this fight is our best game – being absolutely excellent at what we do, every time.
This is about bringing our whole beings to our work: our brains, hearts and guts, as well as our arms and legs. It takes guts to hold the mirror up to our organisaitons, and truly influence CEO, management and Board direction. It takes brains to figure out how to solve really tough social problems. It takes heart to know what’s the right thing to do in tricky situations. And sometimes we need to be creative to bring in enough arms and legs to get the work done.
Here’s a handy-dandy chart I made, to sum it all up:
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