Tag Archives: teamwork

Working with rather than for is key to success

Client relationships are only successful if there is cooperation and agreement on where you are headed. Photo credit – Flickr: donnacollinsevents.

OK everyone, pair up. It’s time for the three-legged potato sack race. Ready…Set…Go!

I think we all know the key to running a successful potato sack race is to work together with your partner. Should one person decide not to participate, you are done, and stuck dragging dead weight as you fight to finish. It just won’t work unless there is cooperation and agreement on where you are headed.

Fast forward from your elementary school field day to now. Picture yourself, now a grown up, working for a living.

I’m going to go out on a ledge here and I assume most of you have experienced a situation that involved dragging dead weight or, at minimum, working with someone who is only interested in his or her way to achieve a goal. If you haven’t, well, consider yourself one of the lucky ones.

Perhaps you have been in a situation involving a client you are promoting. You know there is a good story there, but the client is strictly tasking with one-way direction. Regardless of your efforts, no healthy dialogue is taking place. Will you effectively achieve your client’s goals? Most likely you will not. Consider your options and turn that working “for” situation into a working “with” relationship.

Unfortunately, sometimes it isn’t possible to work “with” a client and that’s when you may want to weigh your options and decide the best course of action. That could range from implementing the tasks as requested to resigning the account.

A resource for effectively handling these negative situations is Alan Cohen’s book, Those Difficult Talks for PR Pros™: How Best to Say What Needs to be said to Clients, Colleagues and Employees.

I attended a session that Cohen moderated at the PRSA 2012 Michigan Conference (CommLab 2012) that highlighted questions we face as PR pros and exercises that can help us prepare for such difficult talks. Cohen recommended looking at the big picture of any scenario and taking into account our own personal values in life.

What did I take away from the discussion? It’s not necessary to work in a negative atmosphere. Consider the situation, discuss it with your team, examine your personal beliefs and your company’s culture, and then make a decision.

Once you do, hop back in that potato sack with a partner and finish that three-legged race together.

Jim Miller is an account manager at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach him at (313) 567-5029 or miller@franco.com. Follow Jim on Twitter at @JimMiller76.

Brainstorming Franco Style: Creativity, Collaboration and Candy

Photo courtesy of Flickr.com/ruimtevolk

Coming up with a great idea – it’s harder than it sounds. On your own, the process can seem impossible. Your past experiences and background may keep you from thinking outside the box. But surrounded by creative and seasoned PR pros, the next great idea is just a brainstorm away.

Great ideas have the power to move our region forward. We need creative ideas to help solve problems, overcome challenges and move beyond the status quo. A great idea can be the difference between a successful PR campaign and one that fails to move the needle. And, that great idea is never out of reach, as long as the idea is fueled by creativity and initiative.

Clients often look to us to help brainstorm new ideas for product launches, strategies and media opportunities. Prior to joining Franco, I was usually brainstorming alone as the sole PR person in my office. At Franco, the brainstorming process is much more effective because we put collective experience and creative minds together.

Here are a few tips for brainstorming, Franco Style:

  • Explain the need and your goals thoroughly. Brainstorming ideas without a goal in mind will only spin your wheels. Remember to explain the issues, challenges and exactly what needs to be accomplished.
  • Open up the brainstorm to team members who aren’t involved in the project. Others within your organization may have better ideas because they’re not as entrenched in the process.
  • Give everyone the chance to be heard. Include interns as well as senior management in the process, and be sure everyone has an opportunity to contribute ideas. Sometimes an intern or office manager may have the winning idea!
  • Provide an incentive to participate. Can you provide a tasty snack? A round of Starbucks? Candy and caffeine can work wonders. Think of an incentive you can provide to encourage active participation.

At Franco, no idea is a bad idea. Some ideas may not be used because of resources or timing, but we all participate in brainstorming because we care about the success of all of our clients and because all ideas are encouraged.

Do you have any additional brainstorming tips? Is there anything you would add to this list?

Rebekah Johnson is an account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach her at (313) 567-5016 or johnson@franco.com. Follower her on Twitter at @rebekahrjohnson.