Written by Craig Tiriana, Manager CE’s Office, Rotorua Lakes Council
I do love Anne Gregory.
It’s true, despite the fact Anne was quoted as describing my home patch as “Stinkyville” during Karen Sander’s Blair, Machiavelli, Leadership and Trust opening to day 2 of PRINZ’s Mind the Gap conference.
Karen and Anne – the Chair of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management – were the foreign double act responsible for dusting off the post awards cobwebs of many as observations on leadership, trust and authenticity rang true.
A first time visitor to Aotearoa, Karen said she and Anne had enjoyed a few days of sightseeing which included a visit to Rotorua or “Stinkyville” and a look at some bubbling geysers.
I think there’s a lesson there: it is indeed very hard to change a reputation when basically the sulphur air gives it away.
Anyway, Karen set the scene with a thought provoking look at Niccolo Machiavelli’s classic leadership book The Prince of 1532 and the birth of the Machiavellian type: cunning scheming and unscrupulous, particularly in politics or self-advancement. This was then blended into a modern scene with Tony Blair’s former advisor Jonathan Powell’s 2010 offering The New Machiavelli.
Once in the melting pot the discussion turned to credibility and the need for leaders to be able to calculate risk, act decisively, be courageous and most of all, not be complacent about integrity.
With the scene set @GregsAnne then probed further, taking the audience deep into the bowels of organisations where the onus is now on modern day public relations professionals to get their noses amongst it and understand what is going on.
Why? Simple: an organisation is what it communicates. Everything it says or does is communicated and if it’s valued, your audience is listening and judging.
These actions tell a corporate narrative that is more powerful than words and images.
Did you know SOS equals “send out stuff?” Not the way for a modern communicator to operate.
That’s why leaders need a public relations professional to interpret what is going on, to trawl the communicative intelligence and understand reasonable expectations and connections.
An organisation’s values are paramount in the integrity stakes.
Values define the delivery and leaders not living the values destroy trust.
“Organisations are defined and constituted by communications, not just enabled by it,” Anne observed.
“People don’t want regulation and compliance _ they expect an organisation is part of solutions.”
“Reputation is society’s judgement on how we perform.”