During these unsettling times, we are training ourselves to stay away from each other for survival, while vehemently hoping for this phase to disappear. Several unavoidable new normals continue to embrace us.
For most of us, working from home (#WFH) is working alongside families; sharing work space, managing time better, collaborating, discovering newer solutions, learning tech shortcuts from children, battling TV volumes, engaging in family workouts and more. We are constantly adapting to uncertainty and quickly enough. Perhaps, in a more empathetic and agile manner.
Agile environments produce interesting experiences for us to greet challenges, to make quick decisions and to appreciate time.
When, I was recently entrusted with a teaching assignment to guide MBA grads pursuing Media and Communication with a leading University , I welcomed the idea. It required pulling in the reins and visualising the responsibility towards my stakeholders – A mixed bag of qualified undergrads, spanning several streams; Arts, Science, Commerce, Communication, Engineering and Chartered Accountancy; A spirited squad gearing to go the extra mile, thirsty for validating their management capabilities, ready to conquer (Pandemic not withstanding), and above all, “malleable”.
This indeed posed a sweet responsibility! It steered me to collaborate and assist them in synthesising the output of their chosen course. The course, which is driving their dreams. What awaited was an immersive experience of work, life and situations!
We stayed current, adopted the pedagogy of best and worst, practical cases in the industry and across the globe, generated in-depth two-way interactions. We validated thoughts and ideas, reasoned criticism, resolved conflicts, appreciated points of view, role played, drew out pragmatic assignments, turned around simulated cases and shared counsel from work experience and published authors. All this, via the google classroom, wherein we bonded real time! We grew quite familiar with each other’s thought processes and strengths, complimented and respected each other’s space, time and feedback.
All the deliberations helped us nurture the seeds of empathy and agility, as core skills for the several hats a communication professional wears during his / her career.
The communication professional plays the roles of a strategic influencer in the organisation. How well one influences the decisions and actions depends on how much one knows about his / her stakeholders, followed by how well the stakeholders react to it.
Communication function is a management function, that involves planning, budgeting, organising, leading and controlling. Therefore, it is imperative for the practitioner to be more than a technician by broadening his /her knowledge, interest and perspectives. This facilitates management support, understanding and a seat at the table. Being in harmony with management concerns, enlarges the scope of communication, thereby paving smarter ways in measuring the results.
The function constantly communicates and collaborates with internal and external stakeholders to create positive relationships. It strives to create consistency between organisational goals and stakeholder expectations. This becomes key to setting synchronised objectives for the communication function along with measurable goals .
All this is effective when done in a timely manner with constant evaluation, clubbed with corrective measures and transparency.
The path, of course is strewn with laurels, conflicts, impulse, some instantaneous results, diverse stakeholders, management opacity, lack of transparency, mismatched expectations and more. A communication professional should remain cognizant of these and resolve those that are clouding the pathway of the function during the course of the journey.
The function continues to evolve across industries, with more focus on measurement, evaluation and impact. The budding professionals should further set the ground with more progressive benchmarks and turn great influencers, while remaining empathetic and agile.
This post is dedicated to communication students at career crossroads, as they move on well informed and confident to find purpose with their thoughts and actions into the communication industry.
This article is not intended in any way to ignore the current crisis and hardships experienced by individuals and families.
The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.