a clear and
compelling need for
they believe we are
2. The communication function should
play a leadership role in these four
• New media
3. These four areas are relevant to the
future of communication.
Most also agreed that the communication function has evolved significantly
and is achieving increased stature within
the corporation, and that the converging
forces of technology, global integration,
multiplying stakeholders and the resulting need for transparency are the most
important communication challenges
But then we started to see answers that
seemed very curious. Although a majority agreed that communicators should
be leaders/facilitators in enabling the
enterprise with new media skills (87 percent) and tools (84 percent), and in
instilling company values (75 percent),
fewer agreed that they should lead/facil-itate in defining company values (57
percent), building (59 percent) or managing (63 percent) multi-stakeholder
relationships, and building (62 percent)
and managing (57 percent) trust.
And, despite the importance of trust
to the leadership equation, there was
only moderate agreement with the state-
ment “Communicators are uniquely
positioned to become experts on the art
and science of organizational trust.”
We also asked respondents what
professional development they had
done in the past 12 months, and what
they planned on doing in the next 12
months. Fewer than 50 percent of our
respondents answered these questions,
possibly suggesting that a surprisingly
high percentage haven’t done and aren’t
planning to do any professional develop-
ment. Those who did answer had taken
or planned on taking functional train-
ing. Few planned on taking training that
seemed to align with the leadership aspi-
ration for the function, with the possible
exception of social media training.
And therein lies the paradox: What
communicators said they wanted for the
profession didn’t match with what they
wanted or were doing as individuals. In
other words, they didn’t necessarily have
the same aspiration for leadership for
themselves as they did for the function.
reinvent your role
Here are ways to develop your role as
a communication leader:
• Do more research and measurement of communication programs.
• Embrace, adopt and own social
• Build integrated communications.
• Tell stories with data, visuals and
• Be confident and honest.
• Be visible.
• Be strategic.
• Know your communication
• Communicate at every level.
• Build a global stakeholder
• Be a trusted strategic adviser.