By Paul Gallagher, Rated PG
Part 1—Hurry up and wait!
The best advice any comms guru will give you has nothing to do with communications. Sadly, it’s the advice you’re least likely to get, especially from someone being paid by the hour.
It’s to do… nothing, temporarily. If the advice is going to add particular value, the ‘Guru’ will tell you to stop whatever you’re doing and breathe for a moment.
The rush to decide
More commonly, managers and leaders are being given options and recommendations every day. Someone with a degree in communications is probably wearing a path to their doors or texting them with authoritative advice, honed in the art of listening and informing. They’re probably even experienced in community consultation and can demonstrate data-driven results for reaching myriad cultural groups.
Some of them will come with a track record of success in government and the private sector.
But there’s an inherent bias in everything they’re advising. It’s that someone has asked them for recommendations with high confidence of success. And the consultant has been given a deadline, usually tight.
That’s the problem—a limited time frame with an emphasis on action over introspection.
In effect, the advisers are being paid to make decisions, even if it’s not their name on the final signoff.
What they lack is the incentive to tell leaders the most critical step for success: To pause and reflect for a moment.
If you are the leader seeking advice, I hope the adviser will tell you to make a coffee first, preferably of some quality (I’m from Melbourne; it’s the law).
The crazy thing is that pausing sounds wrong. The truth is, it might make the difference between a fast-paced failure over a successful pre-victory pause.