Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Workplace asymmetries in needs, goals, priorities and perspectives – Part 8

Posted in job search and career development by Timothy Platt on February 14, 2011

This is my eighth posting in a series on differences in perspective in the workplace and on how they can and do arise as to needs, goals and priorities. I have looked in turn at a variety of constituencies that we face and have to work with in the course of our professional lives and I continue that process here. Part seven looked at issues of understanding and working with customers and prospective customers, and with a goal of at least starting discussion of issues that would be foundation to either effective Sales or customer relations management (CRM). This posting turns to working with and understanding the larger external audience of the more general public and this can be viewed as offering foundation material for developing effective public relations, and public relations management.

Sales and customer relations management do not, or at least should not belong entirely to a small subset of specialist employees. Every employee who in any real way comes into contact with the public and with customers or prospective customers should be aware of the issues I raised in part seven of this series. Similarly, every employee of a publically facing business should be aware of the issues I raise here; I am not simply writing for or about public relations specialists.

The strength and position that a business or organization holds in its marketplace may most directly come from its customers. But ultimately that strength and position derives from a more general public that customers are drawn in from. Businesses and the people who work in them have their own sometimes quite insular understanding of what they do and its value to the larger marketplace and to the public in general. The people they would deal with and who their customers come from may have a very different understanding and both of what our business offers and what they need and want too.

Public relations may involve developing and conveying a message, but it has to start with listening and understanding, and that is a step that anyone and everyone in a business can and should participate in. This is particularly true if you think, plan and act in terms of developing and advancing a long term career, rather than simply carrying out a here and now, day to day job – you get to wear a great many different hats though the course of a career, and your relationship with your customers and the public at large changes too.

Reach out to understand what you do and what you offer and can offer through your job from a wide angled perspective. Think in terms of your own needs, goals, priorities and perspectives but with an awareness of the differences when dealing with others, and whether you encounter them as fellow employees and direct peers, as people in your organization but at different levels or in different services on the table of organization, or as customers or others who may be coming to you from the outside.

• Think about the value you offer, and can offer in this larger and multifaceted context.
• Look at the world from the various perspectives of the people you meet with, deal with, work with and work for and provide services and products to.
• And think career and never simply assume that working with and understanding the people around you is someone else’s job and not yours.

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