Saturday, December 19, 2009

"CEOs: Can We Talk?" (1 of 2)

You Need PR Talent in a "Kitchen Cabinet"

The Wall Street Journal just waved a red flaat you and your firm:

"Knowledge management is one of the workplaces most vexing problems...few organizations can figure out how to share knowledge among employees, or to pass it on when employees leave or change..."

Alright, you're the CEO.
You have a financial question. So, you turn to the CFO. A legal question? Well, no question, time for legal counsel or your ethics and compliance officer. An employee-related issue? That would be a call to HR. But, today, you have a media-, community- or stakeholder-relations issue or need help with marketing communications. No need for help here. You're the CEO. This is the "soft" side of the house. The category "Other" on the balance sheet. With your background, you can handle it yourself. No need to bother your boss with it. Better yet, just assign the issue to the "PR" or "Marketing" department.


Everyone needs a "Kitchen Cabinet," especially when you are at the top. The real question is, "Is your public or media relations staff in your inner circle and, if not, why not?" This is not a post about "succession planning." This is about real-world "knowledge" and the credibility, reputation, relevancy and profitability of your firm.

I was once assigned by a top corporate officer to be the executive director for a new CEO of our most highly visible, profitable subsidiary. I believe the words were, "Don't let him out of your sight." The president was technically sound; I knew external affairs, from public affairs to media relations. I was the "knowledge-voice" that balanced operational decisions with stakeholder expectations. This was a half-billion-dollar operation with huge energy, environmental, defense, and health and safety issues. Not only that, we were part of a Fortune-500 firm listed on Wall Street.

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