Can we please get over this seat-at-the-table obsession?
Last week the Arthur W. Page Society/Council of PR Firms convened a Breakfast Briefing to review the findings of the Corporate Strategy Study conducted by FD earlier this year. The study's findings were truly interesting – more so than is typical of such research. The discussion at the event, however, was distressing.
Questions and comments centered almost entirely on the study's implications related to CCOs having a seat at the table.
How can a room full of communications executives – senior enough to have been in the profession for many years – continue to fixate on this subject? How would our profession change if each and every CCO had a seat at the table? How would one's individual effectiveness change?
I've been in this profession for more than 30 years. I've had a seat at the table, and I've been just outside the room. My expertise and wisdom were no different in each job, but the CEO and the company culture were. Did not having a seat prevent me from doing a good job? No. Did it interfere with my adherence to the Page Principles? No. Did I feel any less of a contributor to the company's success? No.
A seat at the table does not confer legitimacy, trust or respect. We earn it. If our colleagues in senior management know that we will contribute something of import, our counsel will be valued, no matter where we sit. And if, for whatever reason, the communications perspective is needed but not sought, it's our responsibility to provide it.
It doesn't matter where we sit if our work helps achieve the goals of our organizations and benefits society in the process. Isn't that what the job is all about?
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