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Adjunct Professor, Public Relations and Communications Graduate Program,
Georgetown University, and
CEO, EnviroComm International
September 5, 2011
In its Authentic Enterprise study report¹, the Arthur W. Page Society drew on the original research it conducted among CEOs, the experience of society members who work inside or counsel those who work at high levels inside major corporations, and a broad range of studies and perspectives to conclude that:
- The converging forces of technology, global integration, multiplying stakeholders and the resulting greater need for transparency are the most important communications challenges facing 21st century companies.
- The communications function has evolved over the past three decades, and is achieving increased stature within the corporation.
- Chief communication officers (CCOs) are no longer in control of their traditional spheres of professional activity. Indeed, all business functions are at the dawn of an era of radical de-professionalization.
- Corporate communicators are uniquely positioned to become experts on the new and changing dynamics (both art and science) that impact organizational trust.
Looking ahead, what does this mean to CCOs?
The Page report identified four areas — priorities and skills — in which chief corporate communicators are uniquely positioned to assume strong leadership roles:
Leadership in defining and instilling company values
Leadership in building and managing multi-stakeholder relationships
Leadership in enabling the enterprise with "new media" skills and tools
Leadership in building and managing the trust a successful company must have, in every dimension of that quality
Are CCOs up to the challenge?
Commenting on the outlook for communication leadership, authors of the Page Society study said: "We believe that our profession is in a strong position to succeed in the 21st century. None of the new roles we have described is currently the responsibility of an existing department, and our evolution as a function has prepared us well to take them on. Although success will require new approaches, deeper business knowledge and new skills and measurements, we are ready for this moment."
Bruce Harrison is an adjunct professor in the master's program at
Georgetown University, Washington, DC. He and Judith Muhlberger teach
courses in leadership communications and corporate crisis communications.
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