Communication professionals often get caught between a rock and a hard place; that point in your career when you realize you’re so busy doing there’s no time to plan your next career move. Being on autopilot is a dangerous place to be. The more you focus on tactical delivery, the less time you have to pack for your journey to the C-suite, and the longer it takes to move into that dream job where your passion to be a strategic business partner becomes a reality.
Strategic communication is a critical business driver that influences business results. Whether your dream job means leading the communication team or being the ‘go to’ senior advisor that contributes multi-faceted strategies, some elements of intellectual capital will get you to the C-suite faster than others.
Travelling to the C-suite requires self-awareness. Take stock of what you know or think you know about best practice communication standards and practices. No matter what stage you are at in your career, you will benefit from taking an honest look at your experience and knowledge. The insights you gain will help you make thoughtful, responsible decisions about what professional development you need to make your dream a reality.
- An upwardly-mobile communication professional:
- Reflects on feedback and integrates any changes needed into their day-to-day work
- Understands and manages their own perceptions, attitudes and beliefs in relationship to their career goals
- Identifies gaps in knowledge, and seeks clarification and development
These are all-important ingredients for sound decision-making, competency development, excellent service delivery and effective strategic communication management.
How to assess your knowledge and skills
There are a number of ways you can assess your current knowledge and skills:
- Keep a journal, and use your musings to find opportunities for improvement towards best practices. You will be a better communication professional when you engage in deliberate thought about what you are learning and how you are learning it.
- Reflect on a real-life work situation, event or change program to review what worked, and what you would do differently next time.
- Evaluate yourself before any professional learning takes place, and again after there has been time for the initiative to have an impact on your professional practices and ultimately, organisational outcomes.
- Apply the best practice standards to your work. Continuous learning and improvement underpin the Global Standards of the Profession and the model I use in my organisation called the Competency Model for Strategic Communication Management. These models bring together all the components necessary to establish meaningful, measurable objectives that support the corporate strategy, analyse the business environment and the audience, determine the approach, develop and implement tactics and measure the results.
- Follow a structured framework that defines and describes the qualities required by communication professionals to deliver tangible results against business needs.
There’s a new app that will help you do this. The career evaluator™, created by communication professionals, for communication professionals, is a free self-assessment mobile app that gauges individual knowledge and experience against the Global Standard of the Profession, best practices for the profession and the Competency Model for Strategic Communication Management.
The app is designed for communication professionals to self-assess their knowledge and skills, identify areas where improvement is needed, and re-assess their performance after changes have been implemented. Using a series of statements that map communication competencies at different career stages, the career evaluator™, offers a glimpse of your personal intellectual capital and any gaps that you might want to address. Your report indicates opportunities for improvement but is not a comprehensive reflection. It is important to use a variety of resources that support your professional development.
What to expect
The app is pretty straightforward, but because it is a self-assessment it will only tell you what you think you can do. It does not test your actual competencies. As with any assessment, the more honest your responses, the more valuable the information you will get from it.
It will help you to:
• Identify your strengths and gaps in knowledge and skills in each area of competence
• Focus on priority needs for professional development in line with current or future positions
• Inform personal reflection, professional discussions with your manager and peers, and goal setting
• Prepare a short and long term professional development plan
• Plan your career path to take you from where you are today to where you want to be, including the C-suite
The ‘point-in-time’ snapshot of your strengths and areas for development can be used to address gaps in knowledge, skills or behaviours that you have identified. The assessment should take around 30 minutes. When you’re done you will receive a downloadable PDF report of your self-assessment mapped against the competencies and descriptors.
Download the app and try it – it’s free!
More information about the app, including links to download it on your iPhone or Android device are available here.
Adrian Cropley ABC, FRSA
Is the founder and CEO of Cropley Communication and the Centre for Strategic Coommunication Excellence. Adrian is widely recognised as one of the pioneers or old timers of Internal Communication and an expert in strategic communication management. With a career spanning over 25 years, Adrian has worked with clients all over the world, including Fortune 500 companies, on major change communication initiatives, internal communication reviews and strategies, professional development programs and executive leadership and coaching. As a past chair of IABC he implemented the IABC Career Road Map, kick-started a global ISO certification for the profession and developed the IABC Academy.
For details visit his website.