That Untouchable lesson

Just like the Hitchhiker, who has a guide to the galaxy, I too have a guide of sorts.  It may be a little quirky but it comes from one of my favourite movies of all time, The Untouchables. The scene is set in a church where Kevin Costner’s Elliott Ness gets a bit of a life lesson from Sean Connery’s Jimmy Malone over what he can expect in taking down Al Capone.

Long after the movie’s ended the questions that resonate were:  What are you prepared to do? And then what are you prepared to do?

As a PR professional, it struck me that our job never really ends. It is not something where we can simply clock out at 6pm. Whether we like it or not, we are always on call. Because when you do get that call, what are you prepared to do? And then what are you going to do next? Sure, you can provide a placeholder or delay until you’ve dug up the information needed or found the right decision makers but your job is always to respond and provide a feasible solution first. You never pick up the phone without a prepared response to the issue at hand.

But what about just conveying that information? It’s all fine and dandy to pass the buck to the next decision-maker but then, where is your true value? What do you bring to the table that makes your expert opinion count? Over the years, I’ve encountered many PR pros, managers or even bosses who are great at articulating their vision or providing the right response. However, the people who truly deliver value in the business are the ones who can walk the talk. PR is not just about improving perception or delivering that corporate message. It is also about validating that talk with what you are doing to get the desired result. The bottom line is, if you can put your money where your mouth is, I will respect you that much more.

It is not something that comes by easily, trust me. Sometimes even I struggle in the delivery and need encouragement or backup. Being in the industry for so long, you see so many people who are wowed by smooth talkers. It’s hilarious, really. You’d think that after awhile, people will look beyond the veneer and start questioning? Ha. Ha. Ha.

But what I believe is this: to be successful and respected, you need to be able to rise to the occasion and deliver on your promises. That is the only way of delivering true value. 

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Ever prodded a sleeping dragon, only to have it whip up and bite you in the ass? Well, neither have I. But I advocate that you should try everything...once ;P


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