Learning and development (teaching how to fish) continues to be under-prioritised. Leaders intuitively understand the value of a highly skilled and well-trained team. However, they lack the time, space and understanding about reasons to invest in training.  

Learning and development in the strategic communications and PR industry continues to be under-prioritised. However, many leaders constantly encounter comments and feedback from stakeholders and clients about improving the quality of practice demonstrated by their teams.

Intuitively, many leaders recognise and understand that a highly skilled and well-trained team can contribute value across multiple areas for the business. This can be in support of revenue, stakeholder/client management, expansion, execution goals. The ability and confidence to be able to delegate key tasks to self-sufficient team members, and project a successful outcome is a big advantage.

Unfortunately, there is always the priority gap. This gap happens when other priorities are ranked more critical (or urgent) than competency building. Of course, revenue, P&L management, negotiations, client/stakeholder management all need to happen. Smart leaders have learnt over time that too much churn or too little movement are both signs to worry about. This further depletes their time across a day or week, pushing other priorities further down the list.

This is a loss for both the organisations and their teams

This situation turns out to be a lose-lose for both the leaders and their teams. A competent and self-sufficient team can take on more responsibility and work scope from leaders. Leaders gain back more time to focus on strategy and stakeholders. This seems to be the win-win organisations want, and frequently set as goals for the year.

In reality, leaders struggle to make this happen.

Leaders know it is important to build competency. They do not understand how it helps or relates to succeeding with business goals.

Leaders are waiting for the perfect set of conditions so they can start their team on training. Newsflash. There is no perfect environment. They just need to start. As soon as possible.

Leaders find preparing for training difficult and that they are the best (or one of the best) to lead training. This is a problem leaders create for themselves by taking on the mindset that they need to be the lead trainer to make things work out, and they find it a challenge to delegate. The team needs training to level up. If they wait for the perfect environment (time, place, leader) to happen, procrastination will sap their motivation.

The Strategic Communications Group (SCG) seeks to enable and empower strategic communications organisations, teams and practitioners to become better at their craft, improve industry and provide people with value through the support of platforms and tools.

Through the Strategic Communications Academy, we provide a training platform and service focused on skill sets and competencies for communications and Public Relations teams and practitioners.

Learning pathways and topics include building basic and foundational capabilities on writing, media relations, the use of content and the application of communications through to developing good project management skills and client/stakeholder relationships for practitioners.

SCG also provides consultancy services to organisations looking for support on branding and narrative, issues management and crisis communications. Our Academy trainers are also available to coach and train executives and teams.

Send an email to academy@strtgcommsgrp.com and we will connect with you shortly.

We work with brands in the corporate, professional services, retail, travel, and technology spaces.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

For a leader to enjoy the assurance, peace of mind and benefits of working with a competent team, they can start by incorporating a learning and development programme in the organisation. They can start small and try it out with smaller teams first. The point is to start.

A key approach towards building self-sufficiency begins with creating stages that map to their team’s learning objectives.  

The first step is to assess the team (why fish?) on current levels of skills, knowledge and abilities. They can be strengths or weaknesses. They can point to gaps that need to be filled with new hires, or areas of competencies that can be built up as a core knowledge/service offering. The assessment will show where leaders can lean on for help, or need to build for the future, or even to outsource if it is non-core.

The second step is to acquire abilities, competencies, and skill sets (how to fish). This can be through learning and development platforms (such as the Strategic Communications Academy), through apprenticeship, or through an course at an institute of higher learning. The ‘old’ model of on-job-training, observation and shadowing can be part of the process but not be the ONLY process due to the many gaps in context, perspective and understanding.

At this step, leaders can discover new things about team members – whether about their mindsets, motivations, learning styles or even their ability to combine skills. These outcomes should be encouraged and supported – with time, and to connect their levelling up to performance reviews.  

The third step is critical (Practice fishing). There is no point investing in learning and training if there is no sequential application of the new skills, knowledge or competencies. Leaders must create opportunities for their team to use what they have learnt and to do so in a progressive manner. Progressive means incremental, confidence building alongside measuring progress and outcomes. The role of the leader here is to remove obstacles and provide support or resources for the team to apply their skills well.

how to fish
Source: Hermann Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve

The Strategic Communications Academy can be a partner and ally supporting you to achieve career success.

The academy provides talent with a structured training programme and curriculum covering hard and soft skills and capabilities related to the practice of strategic communications.

Connect with us through email at academy@strtgcommsgrp.com to set up a meeting, or to request for more information, or to recommend your HR/training colleague to us for a chat.

Let us help coach and train you to prepare you (and your colleagues or teams) for an exciting career-adventure as a strategic communications practitioner.