Things I Am Learning #5

Getting mugged – and how to protect yourself

I am learning that a good majority of the workload for an Internal Comms pro often comes from an unexpected source. A flash announcement, some unplanned coaching or the postponement of a campaign can all creep up on you and hi-jack your day. I like to call this ‘getting mugged’.

I got mugged last week. Some last-second intranet amends robbed me of my Wednesday. Like an ill-intentioned criminal, these things tend to creep up on you and leave you in a state of shock – for a few minutes at least. So what do you do when confronted with this big, hooded piece of work that’s cornered you – you can’t pretend you haven’t seen it: should you fight it, or just succumb?

Approaching the piece of work with aggression and anger is likely to end up in a poor job being done, innocent bystanders getting dragged in and ultimately both sides coming out a little bloody. Succumbing will probably lead to you becoming the go-to person for last-second stuff! Don’t worry about the deadline, I’ve got a contact who will sort it!

Neither scenario is ideal.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could take control of the situation. Being able to show who’s in charge will require leverage, and whilst I am not going to endorse the use of lead pipes in the workplace, I would suggest keeping your Internal Communications Strategy to hand.

This is your leverage. Sometimes you will be able to use it and turn the piece of work away, sometimes you might decide this urgent and essential announcement is in fact just that. But it’s better to be armed then not.

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