In partnership with PR News, “Lessons Earned” is a series featuring IPR Trustees sharing a difficult lesson.
Talent is everything in communication. Everyone has superpowers but unleashing them takes progressive thinking. Sounds easy, but it’s not. Magic can happen when you focus on playing to an individual’s strengths instead of their weaknesses. Here are lessons I’ve picked up along the way.
Repot talent into the right role
Too many communication leaders are wedded to the adage Out with the old, in with the new. A favorite success story concerns an employee who began as a junior account executive. It quickly became clear that was not the staffer’s jam. The employee switched positions, and started working as a creative catalyst. This unleashed a passion for trend spotting and sourcing cultural fuel. Since then, this staffer has become an inspiring culture add.
Marry passion with purpose
If you’re wondering when to separate or reinvent an employee, ask the person to describe their dream job. This can be a powerful catalyst. If you can deliver on 60 percent of the person’s dream job and in doing so, address business needs, fantastic outcomes are guaranteed.
Clarity is everything
The new role needs to be clearly defined, and success metrics articulated. It’s crucial to communicate the change to senior leaders in advance of an office announcement. This will solidify support and encourage them to help pave the way for a successful transition.
Better to compel than sell
Repotting takes elbow grease. It requires advocacy and leadership from management, and in return, the employee needs to grab the ball and go. Remember, it’s a two-way contract. If the individual posts early successes, everyone will applaud the change.
Zig when others zag
Typically, PR shops recruit for a specific job. The first response when meeting a candidate is to think: What needs does this person fill?
Think bigger. When you do, great things can happen. Ask your team to envision their future roles. This empowers people to think holistically, and let’s you better anticipate future opportunities. That’s a win-win.
There’s nothing better than knowing you have helped figure out a way to unleash someone’s superpowers and in doing so, turbocharged their career (and, hopefully, your business). This is the best part of the job.
Dale Bornstein is CEO of M Booth and an IPR Trustee.