A study of trends in public relations released by the University of Alabama's Planck Center doesn't look good for the profession's boomers, advises Jeff Domansky on the PR Coach blog. "Leaders drink too much of their own Kool-Aid," the report advises. "Leaders and followers hold different views about the 10 most important issues, how future leaders should be developed, and the extent to which their organizations support two-way communication and shared power. Their views diverge even more regarding the quality of leadership performance."
The report was written by Dr. Bruce Berger, based on a poll of nearly 4,500 PR leaders in 23 countries. Four issues were found to be of critical importance.
1. Managing the volume and speed of information (23 percent).
2. The impact of social media (15.3 percent).
3. Need for improved measurement standards (12.2 percent).
4. Handling fast-moving crises better (11.9 percent).
While this list isn't surprising, Domansky observes that "these results are skewed by the older age of senior PR leaders surveyed. Seventy-six percent of respondents were more than 36 years old. It's the opinions of the next generation that are fascinating."
From Dr. Berger's report:
"Leaders drink too much of their own Kool-Aid. Leaders and followers hold different views about the 10 most important issues, how future leaders should be developed, and the extent to which their organizations support two-way communication and shared power. Their views diverge even more regarding the quality of leadership performance. Leaders often rate their own performance higher than do their followers, but the divide between the two in this study is Grand-Canyon sized — a very steep, very deep divide. Many participants also rated the organizational CEO's understanding of communication higher than they rated the performance of the communication leader."
The 10 biggest issues in public relations are listed as (on a scale of seven):
• Dealing with the speed and volume of information flow (5.88)
• Being ready to effectively deal with crises that may arise (5.76)
• Managing the digital revolution and rise of social media (5.75)
• Improving employee engagement and commitment (5.49)
• Improving the measurement of communication effectiveness (5.49)
• Dealing with growing demands for transparency (5.34)
• Finding, developing, and retaining top talent (5.25)
• Meeting demands for corporate social responsibility (5.10)
• Meeting communication needs in diverse cultures (4.83)
• Improving the image of the profession (4.47)
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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