Trust the Process: It’s Working for the Sixers (& it can work for assessing your communications team, too!)

By Debbie Albert, Albert Communications

For Philadelphians, the phrase “trust the process” has become part of the lexicon about the Sixers, our NBA team, who have played through a series of rough years (an understatement) but is now emerging stronger than ever.

Throughout those dark, dismal seasons, they kept admonishing fans to trust the process. They couldn’t build a strong team overnight; it would take years. It was a process.

For the die-hard fans, it has been a grueling wait, but the process has led to a team on fire, and in the wake of the Super Bowl win for the Eagles, this is a city excited about more winning possibilities.

Trusting the process is a tough ask for the impatient. (I know. I count myself among them.) But trusting the process, and respecting the steps in that journey, usually pays off in dividends. Ask any sales person about their wins, and they are bound to tell you that they trusted the sales process at their business, even when they were wishing they could skip three steps and jump ahead.

When it comes to building a team – or dismantling and rebuilding – it is a process. Major change shouldn’t happen overnight, because when it does, results can be calamitous for scores of people, with immeasurable ripple effects.

In business, in academia, and in the non-profit world, there are times when a new CEO or an executive director takes the helm and inherits teams that may not be up to his or her standards. Which area should be tackled first? What help do I need in addressing these issues? What should the priorities be?

It can be overwhelming to take on a new role, but strong, confident leaders know when they need to bring in outside eyes to help them with a process.

Assessing the value of a communications team (sometimes called the PR team or the marketing communications team) may not be as high on the leader’s agenda as the financial health of the organization, but it should be near the top of that list. The communications department is responsible for the company’s voice, the CEO’s words, and the language spoken among employees. All of those areas impact how the company or organization is seen internally and to the outside world.

As experts in building and/or re-building rebuilding communications teams, we’re often called in to help with this process; an effort the CMO or the CEO may not have the time to do, nor the expertise to tackle.

Our Communications Audits & Assessments, one in our series of Clarity Playbooks, include one-on-one interviews with team members and their primary stakeholders, both inside and outside the organization. We dive deeply, and are gratified when, as it is in most cases, complete candor is shared with confidentiality promised. We often add a quantitative survey, expanding the reach of the assessment and ensuring the findings from the qualitative process match the candid responses from the personal meetings.

These findings – unabridged, and sometimes difficult to hear – are shared with leadership and include recommendations for next steps. In many instances, we’re asked to stay on after the assessment to help clients implement the recommendations. It’s a process.

The tortoise knew that “slow and steady wins the race.” Today, especially for Sixers fans, we’ll just say it this way, “Trust the process.”

Note: PPRA is composed of many distinct organizations and individuals, each with different perspectives and specializations in diverse areas of public relations. Many of these members’ websites feature blogs with valuable insights and advice, and we would like to make this content available to you. Periodically, we will repost content from member blogs. If you would like to see your company’s blog considered, email Stephen Krasowski at skrasowski@rmahq.org.

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