‘Enough is Enough’ – an economic model for Net-Work and Net-Worth?

With its roots in 1546, the wisdom underlying the John Heywood proverb ‘enough is enough‘ has been recognised by many. But when is enough truly enough? The churning over the recessionary pressures – real or otherwise – have, more so in recent months, led many to question the economic models we have used for so long. Unsurprising really, as they are models which, as I have mentioned here before, were created for another space and time.

The question is not what we will do next – emergent models are under experimentation as I write. The big questions I believe we need to address include how will we handle the changes, how quickly can we adapt and can we be extricated from the profit model to a social model where we collectively agree to accept that ‘enough is, indeed, enough’.  The other significant question – and why I am ‘thinking aloud’ here – is that once the social model is operational what will the role of the practitioner be in making it work?

The first hurdle surrounds the concept of profit. Profit (or surplus for the public sector) is needed to reinvest, grow the organisation and provide some security for my working community. Coming from a background that has always placed emphasis on the need for trusting and mutually beneficial relationships within the workforce, I am entirely conscious of the need to ensure the organisation is financially sustainable, so I am not advocating we abandon generating income, just that we determine what level of profit is ‘enough’.

Profit can be a sustainable driver, not simply something that laces my pockets and those of my shareholders with excess fat. Chasing profits stemmed (in some economic models at least) from chasing equality. Aristocracy in various guises held sway over goods, chattels and people for centuries. The industrial revolution provided the opportunity for the common man – and latterly woman – to enter these hallowed halls of privilege by virtue of their newly generated wealth. In order to attain perceived parity with their erstwhile masters, huge amounts of wealth had to be generated in order to buy the titles, houses and other material trappings that would elevate them to the level of society they desired. Profit was a driver to status, political power, social influence, three square meals a day and as much companionship as a man could cope with after a long day empire building.

So is it possible to change this attitude today? Influence is still largely determined by purse strings. Politicians are frequently bought and sold into power thanks to their affluent backers. In today’s society, slightly less hierarchical, slightly more democratic depending on where you are in the world, does ‘the company’ have to make excess profits? Do we really need the jet to get to Washington? The bonus or the remote hideaway? Can an organisation simply look at what it requires to sustain its working family’s needs and in doing so, leave room for life-blood investment, rather than bloody excess? Ensure process is sustainable and resources drawn from communities that remain unharmed as a result? Surely we can do better than we have done to date?

Last week I got a taxi from the airport, my single reckless disregard for my carbon footprint as I can’t cope with the shuttle bus taking longer than the flight to get me home. My taxi was a Toyota Prius, a hybrid vehicle, and, chatting to the driver our conversation turned inevitably to the recession. He advised he bought the car as a way to cut costs and do his bit for the environment. He said that he thought his petrol bill would reduce a little, but was more concerned with the environmental benefits. What he hadn’t anticipated was the $40 a day he was saving in petrol. We talked about various technologies available, how bonkers it is that Auckland is probably one of the only major cities in the world not to have a rail link from the airport to downtown and we agreed that although it is more expensive to start on the road to ‘enough is enough’, the long-term benefits are considerable and often unexpected; for him, his business is better, the city suffers fewer emissions and I am slightly less guilty about my cab ride.

Many years ago, I adopted the ‘enough is enough’ rule, earning enough to keep me and enough to allow me to provide help for free for those who need it, hopefully sustaining an income and improving the chances of others to do the same. It isn’t necessarily conventional and I have often been dubbed mildly nuts, but it does work – and I believe similar approaches will become more workable more quickly than you might think.

Just over the horizon we have the next stage of the social network moving on from the crowd-pulling Facebook to the homophilious web, where communities and networks structure their online business, play and social interaction with likeminded others, roosting comfortably together as birds of a feather in nodes and networks of their own making.  The recent advent of OnLive , a gaming system that does away with hardware consoles (this is not the tangent it might seem), will, I am sure, be replicated across all activity, allowing us to switch on any device, from phone to TV – heck, even the car, and connect. Which means I can do away with the cab ride as I won’t be on the plane in the first place.  So far, we have created multiple identities and accounts in order to connect – this too has begun to streamline with OpenID, Facebook Connect, FriendFeed and the like. Rapid prototyping of next-wave technologies means that, so long as the power stays on, we are changing the way we work and produce (so woe betide the companies currently banning social networking and interaction in the workplace. Lose the myopia or be that dinosaur).

But can this model work for ‘big business’? For the corporates fat on the residue of nineteenth century business and accounting systems? I suspect it could, but not merely by teaching or allowing people to use the technologies. It will be about behaviour change. Helping others to learn to rethink and restructure the organisation – probably into something much smaller. Helping them to be sufficiently courageous to discover the ‘new possible ‘ – like casting their communications out into network groups rather than retaining a ‘command and control’ centralised approach.  Scariest for many would include restructuring balance sheets and examining the nature of ‘value’ as well as finally overturning the mythology of ‘brand’ and reintroducing the reality of providing necessities for people, rather than product or ‘things’. Tax, governance and the concept of power would also face overhaul, so we were all working towards ‘enough is enough’. In a world were resources are increasingly scarce, sustainability has to be put to work, rather than discussed ad nauseum. People are using the ‘new possible’ to force action. Look at Moldova or the Saucepan Revolution in Iceland this January that culminated in last weekend’s elections.

If you are still with me here, I can almost hear you murmuring ‘she’s completely lost the plot’. Possibly, but probably not. Consider this. I create a social network for like-minded people. We share a value system and our technographic profile is pretty well matched. These similarities do not mean our skills are duplicated so I can source my livelihood, social interaction, goods and services from within this group. I am working in an environment of trust and dependability. My values of sustainability, equality and empowerment are shared so I will invest my time and money. Put simply, when I need a new bed, I will ‘buy-pass’ the big brand store. Instead, I ask the network to work for me, either producing said bed or getting them to cross networks to a trusted source of theirs to find it for me. No amount of Google advertising will change my mind as my influences are predetermined by trust, source, mutuality and contribution.  If, over time, I find the network becomes constrained, or groupthink starts to creep in, I may, in the search for innovation and diversity, join some heterophilious networks instead. I am still likely to keep things small, buy-passing ‘traditional’ sources of product and service in favour of my community. Influence and status won’t be afforded by material wealth – a new currency of identity will replace old benchmarks. Value will be determined by who you are, who you know and what you do – actions always speaking louder than words – with connections an addition to the existing reputational scale of who you are, what you do and what others say about you.  Sell me a duff bed and your currency is down, not just in our community but elsewhere, when it is broadcast to others.

Which brings me (finally, sorry), to the role of the practitioner in all this. I have been looking at the competency requirements for a public relations practitioner in recent months and, to be frank, I feel the whole thing needs to be urgently turned on its head. I don’t think the frameworks that exist or which we are looking to create are going to equip us for the task ahead.

The fundamental function of public relations being concerned with building and sustaining relationships will not change, but its application will. I believe in the months – not years – ahead, the practitioner must increasingly be someone who understands the relationship between the networks as they enter the next phase. Someone who can understand the technographic, psychographic and homophilious nature of the interaction and is able to determine relevance, facilitate linkage and/or encourage the diversity necessary for innovation. One of the dangers of my net-work/net-worth model is that if people descend into groupthink, this in itself can have serious implications for society. The practitioner will therefore have the absolute responsibility for internal advocacy so the network resists descent into a closed system, because as we all know, closed systems don’t work. We will have to heat up the wax at the bottom of the lava lamp so communities remain nebulous, stay afloat and mingle for mutual benefit. Which makes me wonder if part of a future role could involve some sort of social policing? Moderation? Who knows.  One certainty is that every practitioner will have to declare themselves and be themselves. Their own identity, reputation and involvement will form the basis on which those on whose behalf they advocate will be judged. The personal influence model with a twist of lemming?

In these early days, it is inevitable that evolutionary mistakes will be made. My hope is that practitioners don’t try to use old-school approaches in this new environment otherwise they will face the same criticisms that are often faced now. Network participants will forge their own relationships without the need for practitioners, in much the same way as the citizen no longer needs mainstream media to publish news and information. Redundancy beckons – unless the fundamental operation of net-work relationships and the role of the mediator-advocate is understood, developed and has demonstrable value. There is a need to reinvent our particular wheel, not just for the sake of it and not so that it does something else, more so that it carries a new type of load,more effectively and with greater social and public benefit than before. Interesting times indeed. And probably more than enough thinking out loud for today.

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17 Replies to “‘Enough is Enough’ – an economic model for Net-Work and Net-Worth?

  1. Catherine,

    I knew you must have been out of touch..otherwise you wouldn’t have missed the opportunity of the ‘reach to the gun’ item in Paul’s comment….

    Concerning the differences in competencies needed to develop relationships in the real and virtual worlds I was not referring to values, but to professional competencies.

    What I mean is that, at least at this point (but I am not so sure…), the virtual world requires different skills for effective relationship building, and these skills may well be taught and learned…once they have been rationalised and conceptualised.

    My question was whether this has been accomplished to a sufficient degree of acceptablity since I wrote the 2004 Bled piece I referred to.

    In the meantime, however (and I am glad that David decided to comment here), I have received from him an illuminating paper he had written on the issue way back in 1999 which tells me that even then his ideas were clear. I haven’t yet read his new book which has just been presented in London co-written with Philip Young so I cannot but wait to learn from these two excellent thinkers were we actually stand.

    On the rest I fully concur with your vision and with Bill’s perspective.

  2. Catherine, oh dear. We are miles apart. Profit and lots of it is a perfectly good
    measure of one sort of success. It’s a bit like this: coming first is a good
    measure of a runner, and the more out in front the better. Doesn’t make the
    winner nice, doesn’t mean she can cheat, doesn’t make the race she ran the
    only interesting adventure in town. But rubbishing the winning of running
    races – now there’s a problem.

    The best news I heard all week was the return to profitability by some banks. One example was Barclays, which some time ago replaced the outdated term CSR with the term “sustainability” to guide its stakeholder relationship management strategy:

    http://group.barclays.com/Sustainability

  3. Catherine’s statement, “The practitioner – on and off line – has the role of facilitation, identifying where intersecting relationships will be of mutual benefit (for exchange or community as you so rightly indicate) as well as helping others understand how they can begin to forge, build and sustain the necessary interactions.” makes a significant–perhaps profound–point.
    It is so second-nature and consistent with the DNA of practitioners to do this that it seems almost obvious– until you realize that it isn’t for most organizations.

  4. I have been deep in the mountains and valleys all week working with small businesses, so the question of new business models has come up quite frequently in conversations. This has also meant that until today I have been unable to respond properly to all the interesting and intriguing comments.

    Toni – your point about competencies diverging in the real and virtual worlds. I am not sure I entirely agree here. I believe the same values that underpin friendships, relationships, communication and interaction are common to all environments. Competencies therefore remain constant while implementation and interaction will vary. Is that what you meant? Or have I misinterpreted your thoughts?

    Paul – I am afraid I cannot concur with your view of ‘the pen as a virtual gun’. My preference is to use my pen to create bonds, so I would hesitate to compare it to items that generally destroy. I think perhaps you may have misunderstood a couple of thoughts in my post, so perhaps I can clarify. Profit of some description is always necessary in order to sustain the activity in hand, but the pursuit of profit as an end in itself is always – and has been proven to be so time and time again – at the considerable expense of someone else. An organisation needs, I believe, to determine what level of profit is enough to sustain them – i.e. enough – rather than greedily seek to accumulate as much as possible. You mentioned Karl Marx and ‘each according to his need’ which is possibly related in spirit until you dissect how ‘need’ has been determined by large organisations in the past. That old saying ‘needs must when the devil drives’ springs to mind. Need has not always been translated into sustainable company growth; instead we have been faced with large returns, bonuses and extravagant perks for only a few of those involved in the enterprise. Heather’s point concerning communal and exchange benefits expresses this very eloquently, as does Caroline’s additional observation on short term thinking.

    Bill – I entirely agree with your addition of resolving ambiguity, which in part answers Heather’s query about the relationship function. Heather, of course I agree with you that people will be, are, and will continue to create their own relationships but not all are able or equipped to initiate or sustain the process. The practitioner – on and off line – has the role of facilitation, identifying where intersecting relationships will be of mutual benefit (for exchange or community as you so rightly indicate) as well as helping others understand how they can begin to forge, build and sustain the necessary interactions. This crosses straight into David’s observations on offering to develop new values where skills do not exist (his plant-breeding metaphor).

    It has been my privilege this week to work with some amazing businesses operating in some very remote communities. The people behind these enterprises do plan to be in their respective businesses forever, simply because it is their business that sustains their families and communities.

    However, they do not build their businesses at the expense of those around them, instead creating partnerships that add value for everyone (rather like David’s priceless rose-enhancing poem). The opportunity exists for a single business to grow large, gobbling up those around them in the scramble for profit, but they do not choose that model. Instead, ‘enough’ is determined by each concern, then the residual business passed on and shared with those around them. This does not indicate complacency either, as their long term planning is based on what will be enough to sustain their future without exploiting the resources and people around them.

    Where they – and many other enterprises around the world – need the help of competent practitioners is in the identification of the wider communities they need to connect with in order to build a future based on sound relationships that do not exceed the agreed limits of ‘enough’. An online advantage in this regard is something to which I think Judy was alluding.

    All of which I think Jerid captured in the previous comment when he said: ‘As PR people, we have always to be looking ahead. Sure, it is a good idea to look back at things that work, but always be looking ahead at things that could be challenging or just situations where we need to be ready’.

  5. Adaptation seems to be one of the key elements to being a successful public relations practitioner. While it’s nice to be able to run things with our own system, we have to be flexible. Especially with the economic restraints that everyone is suffering, it just emphasizes this point even more. Even when some decide to adapt, it can be too little too late. Another factor to consider, which seems to go right in line with adaptation, is foresight. As PR people, we have to always be looking ahead. Sure, it’s a good idea to look back at things that work, but always be looking ahead at things that could be challenging or just situations where we need to be ready.

  6. I like this debate. It hinges on this vexed question of value and values.

    For many, taking the $ out of practice is very hard.

    It is then worth thinking of value as a good in its context.

    A rose given as a loving token (and costing $2) has huge value. Sometimes more than ten roses or, for the grower of roses, a million blooms.

    If I give a rose to a pretty girl, the context can have many values. It is part of giving a rose (and at my age, she would blush). If, on the other hand I offered ten roses in the form of a $20 bill, I would expect a sharp and angry repost.

    Actors observing these two actions would also form opinions from sympathy or endearment to outright hostility.

    Thus the values that attach to a good differ from person to person (e.g. the giver, recipient, grower, public) and context is critical in establishing value.

    For the practitioner understanding contexts as well as publics is important.

    Add these ideas to the nature of value added by people and a new idea comes to the fore.

    The idea that the rose can become even more appealing and even more valuable has its attractions. It might, by dint of breeding a better scent or deeper coloured rose, become an even more valuable token and the grower might get a modest premium price in $’s

    What if one offers publics and opportunity to develop new values but who do not have the skill in plant breeding?

    They might, for example, write poems for people like me to use when offering the rose and its value would soar (with not a single $ in sight). Many would do such things for free.

    As Yocai Benkler points out in his book The Wealth of Networks, there is every reason to believe that such paradigm shifts are not uncommon. IBM, once the company that lodged more patents than any other, now makes most of its money not from the 20th century idea of walled gardens and controlled exploitation of copyright but for its work using Open Source software (notably Linux).

    The practitioner then may have to learn to think of value in very different ways. Corporate intellectual property assets may actually be a liability when a billion people can create alternatives and then go on to add value in directions beyond the imagining of the corporate board.

    Knowledge and human creativity among a few may create the best widget for the moment but compared to the masses that can be drawn on in networked community it will be dull and uninspiring.

    The practitioner then may want to consider how corporate assets can grow through enhanced transparency and wider relationships beyond the corporation’s view of publics, brand values and markets.

    This in turn will require an enhanced view of the lubricants of relationships and trust. Managing transparency, communication and the nature of real values in contexts may be the core tools in this kind of practice.

    It is a form of practice that goes to the heart of management.

    ….. And I would pay a lot more than $1 for a poet to express my feeling when presenting the rose to such a wonderful woman.

    Enabling value added is a PR activity more powerful than most and wholly in the realm of professional practice

  7. Even Karl Marx talked about “each according to his needs” as opposed to the more woolly still “enough is enough”.

    I couldn’t fathom whether Sandra McCleod was endorsing the view in her presentation (which is actually informative and worth downloading) that: “Sustainability means planning for your business to be in business forever.” If so, it’s nonsense. Whatever happened to exit strategies, M&As and disruptive industries? No business brand should or does last forever.

    For profit companies are, as are not-for-profit organizations, dynamic, contradictory creatures with multiple purposes, personalities, strategies, tactics, time perspectives and lifespans. And then there is competition and unforeseen events that means risk is always lurking somewhere to undermine even the best laid plans.

    Technological and social development also stretches the boundaries of what constitutes sustainable development potential; upwards, and sometimes downward.

    I wrote a sustainability PR manifesto that I hope is of some use to other PRs – here:

    http://paulseaman.eu/2009/02/corporate-responsibility-the-least-we-can-do/

  8. I agree with Heather, that ‘enough is enough’ should also equate to sustainable profit.
    What’s been wrong in the past is that business thinking has been short term, looking for quarterly profit (and immediate bonus) rather than being focussed on being in business forever. Sandra Macleod’s presentation on this topic is useful and found here http://www.instituteforpr.org/ipr_info/from_sustainability_to_durability_colloquium/
    Of course anyone inside the fast rolling profit business would like to see the ‘good times’ back, but most of us have now realised that, over time, they will have proved quite expensive and not so good after all.

  9. Seems to me that the list should include at least one more skill or trait: Resolving, as in resolving ambiguity, coupled with a high tolerance for ambiguity.

    Practitioners of all stripes deal with a large amount of complex information and symbols–the debate on climate change being a perfect example. Sorting out the claims and accusations such as “junk science” requires a disciplined approach to fact-finding and presentation. Practitioners of spin seldom worry about this; in fact, they traffic in ambiguity.

  10. Heather, my point was that so long as profits are sustainable enough is never enough; the more the better.

    What is “sustainable” and what is “enough” are relative and or subjective rather than absolute or objective terms (particularly when it comes to “enough”). That makes me feel comfortable enough about them to believe that they are compatible with economic growth and social development, and lots of it.

    I am no supporter of low ambitions, downsizing and thinking small, unless we have no choice. But that is normally called a recession, and they don’t normally last that long. The good times will come again, I’m sure, and they will be fueled by profit – and lots of it.

  11. Two thoughts:

    1. I must be missing something regarding the competencies discussed for PR practitioners. Who is the practitioner supposed to be building relationships with and why should PR do this as opposed to all the people in an organisation who are more directly connected with such relationships? What do you see is specifically the preserve of PR – or is the role more to facilitate and equip others to maintain and sustain these relationships.

    2. Re Paul’s point, surely the fact that people and businesses were over-extended on credit was part of the pursuit of profit, lots of it. Doesn’t sustainable profit fit with the idea of enough is enough? So profit has to be proportionate and sufficient should stay in the system to ensure it remains viable in the long-term.

    Whether it is profit or relationships, we need to think about communal and exchange benefits not exploitation and survival of the fittest.

    Relationships and the financial oil in the wheels of society (individual and for organisations) should about sustainability.

    Where I’d like to see the PR practitioner competency develop in future is much more on this financial side. It won’t be enough to be relationship experts if we don’t understand the fundamental dimensions of sustainability – which includes profit.

  12. Whenever people talk about revolutions in business or social models I reach for my virtual gun; namely my pen.

    Whether we are talking about the business or non-business worlds, we should remind ourselves that from the Bolshevik to the Dotcom revolutions they all ended in tragedy. Worthwhile change is constant and evolutionary.

    You miss one striking ironic point about the recession today – it was caused by too little profit in the system, not too much. The bank profits were bogus – driven by executive greed at the expense of both long term stakeholder (particularly customer) and shareholder interests. The rest of us were living on credit that sustained demand till the point the bubble burst.

    The sooner we get back to making long-term sustainable profit, and lots and lots of it on a global scale, the better.

    I believe that in the future stakeholders and shareholders are going to have to assert their interests more forcibly.

    Meanwhile, my favorite case-study that provides insight into the future of the corporate world is Barclays:

    http://paulseaman.eu/2008/11/barclays-highlights-end-of-pr-schmooze/

  13. Excellent points you make Judy. Which inevitably link to many of the things that Catherine has been writing about in her posts.

    Personally, I do not think that the competencies needed for a public relations professional to understand the mechanisms of convincing, persuading, involving, engaging, evaluating, relating…. are the same in the real world or in a virtual world.
    If this is so, the implication is that the fundamental understanding of those phenomena is essentially based on mostly psychology, some sociology, some communication and some neuroscience, but their actual practices need to diverge in the two quite different environments.
    I might however be wrong and would like to be challenged on this.
    In 2004 with my good friend Fabio Ventoruzzo I presented in Bled a paper on ‘integrating real and virtual environments in stakeholder relationship management’.
    I don’t know how to attach a document in replying here, but I am happy to send you a copy of this privately (or anyone else of course).
    But that was in 2004, and light years have passed since…. The thrust of that paper (related to what we are discussing) was that the two environments were (are?) different and that while the ways to be effective in the real world were known, the best cases I could then examine seemed to have no common guidelines that could be drawn.

    Having said this, Judy, direct experience is of course essential in a learning process, but the task of the professional educator is to always attempt to turn direct experience into processes which others may learn from based on (fairly) sound rationalization and research.

  14. Yet another fascinating post (beautifully written) by colleague, Catherine Arrow.

    Toni, in listing your “ideal” core competencies (whew, that’s a lot of knowledge needed), my question to you is how many (or which) can be taught (in a post-secondary setting or via a PR association’s professional development offerings), and how many (or which) are mainly gained through direct experience.

    Further to Catherine’s point, can some of the competencies be learned (or at least honed) in new platforms and possibilities of social media, versus the traditional in-house (or agency) employment experience? In particular, your final listing of:

    – convincing
    – persuading
    – involving
    – engaging
    – evaluating
    – relating

    One of the beauties of social media is how your interactive, digital world expands beyond your employer and (usual) key stakeholders. PR Conversations is a perfect example of this.

  15. As always Toni, your question has prompted another big think. And, as always, I find myself going backwards in an attempt to answer it.

    If we agree (and I think we do) that the practitioner is responsible for building and sustaining relationships, then in order to determine the competencies and skills necessary in the years ahead, we have to look at the whole nature of the relationships we will be dealing with. This brings me back to the first part of yesterday’s thinking – if the business model changes, the nature of the relationships required to function changes too. A relationship is a connection between one person and another or several people if they form themselves into an organisation. Old-school organisations eliminated or subsumed the personalities of individual people in order to create an organisational persona. Frequently this was an uncommunicative, unresponsive and powerful closed system that resisted the normal relationship parameters of respect, mutuality, security and flexibility in favour of a dominant, often dictatorial stance – e.g. the company knows best – geared towards financial profit (or surplus).

    Communication – the lubricant of successful relationships – generally fell into all the Grunig categories except ‘two-way symmetrical’. Controlling communication allowed the persona to be enforced and focus on profit generation/shareholder return maintained, resulting in single, one-way connections (but not relationships) being formed. As we know this has often led to frustrated, unheard, disenfranchised and eventually disconnected stakeholders.

    But if the business model changes and the focus shifts to sustainable value, the organisation is no longer a controlled persona but the chaotic and nebulous interactive ‘sum of its parts’ – i.e. the operational individuals – meaning we, as practitioners, gain the evolutionary equivalent of wings. But we need a collective mind-shift too – not just the organisation. Even now, practitioners are still thinking tactics and tools rather than vision and outcomes. Which brings me to the competencies. If we agree that core competency consists of aptitude, knowledge and skills then the base we work from must be considerably broader than it is now. So here we go.

    Aptitudes: A proficient listener, observer and discerning analyst capable of generating understanding and appropriate communication with an infinite variety of people and settings. A voracious and curious consumer of the quirks and idiosyncrasies of humanity with a generous understanding of the human condition.
    No change there then 😉

    Knowledge: I am tempted to say ‘as much as possible throughout life’, but I won’t. Instead, extend the current body of knowledge far outside current parameters and include all the ‘ologies’ – psychology, anthropology, sociology, technology – plus a large dollop of philosophy and law. History for context and intercultural studies for effective application and engagement.

    Skills: I agree entirely with your list and can think of several more, but will add what would be my priorities. Coding being the first (just another language after all) plus the ability to learn fast and adapt quickly (although they might really belong in aptitudes). And obviously, if I have made many typos in this box, a lifelong commitment to spelling – I apologise if there are some, but the scroll-up-down is having a hissy fit just now) One more skill has just sprung to mind – the skill necessary to determine the level and relevancy of connection/relationship required in this multi-layered ‘next’ world (otherwise we could all end up as busy fools!)

  16. Catherine,

    I apologise if I put my feet directly into the trap you prepared in the second part of this post.
    I will not comment on the first one not because I do not agree with it, but because I think that the second part of the post basically answers the ‘so what?’ question.

    I would like to ask you and other readers to participate in a definition and then description of the competencies which are needed to do exactly what you believe(and I agree, of course) will be (is) required from public relatins professionals if they do not, as you say, wish to make themselves redundant.

    I believe this might help not only us in gaining a better awareness, but also in ginving some hints to various colleagues out there trying to map the new pr education curricula for organizations like the Global Alliance, Euprera and I suppose others.

    I have tried to do this randomly from my ‘governance of stakeholder relationships’ perspective with not as much attention to social media as you might havem and I believe that, again with the help of others, we may put together a good list.

    Here are mine:
    consulting, project management, research and data collection, issues analysis, problem solving, creating and presenting proposals, networking, advanced influencing skills, organizational analysis, stakeholder identification and analysis, organizational development, strategic planning, organizational strategy, envisioning, managing and implementing change, running workshops, internal marketing, con/vincing, persuading, involving, engaging, evaluating, relating, decision making processes…

    And yours?

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