Ozan Toptas's Blog

Communications Professionals Must Embrace Business Acumen

I will let you in on a secret. There is a misalignment in our profession with the business that almost no other business function endures. Read this, if you don’t believe me:

Few Execs Get the PR Results They Expect

I will quote the most important part, in case you are feeling lazy:

(...)majority of the executives polled (33 per cent) claimed that PR was of the utmost importance to their specific business outcomes. However, relatively few (only 10 per cent) said PR has actually been highly effective in driving those desired outcomes.

Only one in ten executives think that we are able to deliver their expected business goals…

Let that sink in for a moment...

We think ourselves as the dreamers, the stargazers. And I know that we are stargazers, but we need to have our effing feet on the ground, people. Nobody needs stargazers who can’t deliver. We need to understand our business, how our work aligns with it and start showing that we understand it. If we can’t tie our activities to business, this profession won’t be able to survive. And why should it?

We need to better understand the business objectives and start working through them. Otherwise, we are doing whatever we are doing for the sake of doing it. If we are not helping the business reach its goals, by definition, with every activity, we are hindering the business.

If communications' activities are not tied to the organizational goals, any activity we do might hinder the organization.

I know a lot of people in our profession think math is hard, finance is hard, business is hard. It shouldn’t be. We need to pay the necessary attention and effort to these aspects to be proficient in our jobs. These might be other people’s jobs -- but they are our business too.

An organization can reach its goals most efficiently only when all the units in it are working to achieve said goals. Don’t pull the organization from its goals, don’t hinder the effort by executing unrelated activities. We can only align with the organization when we understand its objectives and try to reach them.

Organization can reach its goals when everyone plays their part according to the organizational strategy.

Every one of us should step up their business acumen. It is not beneath us. It is not above us. We must embrace it to do our jobs well. Don’t you dare to divert your gaze from the stars, but make sure your feet are on the ground well within the dirt. Otherwise, you are not doing the job you are supposed to do.