CEOs telling it straight: the communications director is a critical success factor
“The communications director has to be your alter ego; somebody in whom you can have blind trust – in their ability to unpack both the company and your personal vision. It should be a person you can fully trust and who deepens your capabilities; who advises and reviews your ideas and opinions – and, overall, who gives you the feeling that there is someone you can always rely upon.”
This quote is from one of 40 CEOs we interviewed about the role of communications within leadership and reputation for our report ‘Beyond communications: a CEO perspective of reputation leadership’. From our research, we found that the modern CEO is looking for strong commercial understanding; a strategic business leader who sits at the inner core of the organisation and proactively connects, coordinates, and facilitates the business to achieve its strategic objectives; one who can take the global conversation about the company and harness it towards the brightest commercial future, by engaging in activities that:
- Build and safeguard its reputation
- Navigate, filter and harness digital
- Take up the leadership mantle
- Spearhead internal change
In a world of instant communication, alternative facts and fake news, the need for communications directors to safeguard authenticity and transparency in all their corporate messages is more important than ever before, whether that’s the CEO speech addressing an investor community or a poster in the factory cafeteria. As one of our interviewees put it: “the pressure to increase transparency is enormous, and I believe that communications can play a very significant role in that process.”
Reputation can no longer follow business decisions, it must now lead them. It is no longer the by-product of good strategy. It has become the strategy. Reputation has become a leading business decision making force and this has implications for the role of the communications director.
Is your communications director stepping up to the challenge? To find out more about the key findings and conclusions from this highly informative report, please get in touch.
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