Last week I had an awesome session at the Meltwater Digital Summit talking on the intersection between PR and Marketing. We talked on the effect of social media on marketing efforts and adapting to new campaign strategies whether PR or Marketing. I loved hearing from C-level managers in a profession that tends to be viewed more as utilitarian versus functional. Doing my Diploma and even in interviews, the question of PR and Marketing delivering returns on investment always comes up. Especially if you are in a sales-focused regime.
But what really caught my attention was a panel discussion on marrying the two roles with the opinion holding that though the two functions must be kept separate, their symbiotic relationship cannot be ignored. It takes me back to the concept of the T-shaped employee. The modern workplace is placing less and less emphasis on qualifications based on academics and building more on extra skillsets and adaptability. The demand is shifting to how to offer specialised services and give the widest value spectrum at the same time. Fact is, it is very useful to speak two business languages at the same time. Question is on mastering a skill and delivering an entire business as an individual.
Moving up the ranks in a company means you open up to all the wheels that run the organization, from accounting and punching numbers to budgets to investments to longer-term projections.
In one post on leadership ( Fear of What Next), I noted that leadership pushes you to surrender your skill so as to govern over other’s skill. However, it kind of a way of having to diversify your skillset. For your business to expand, you cover more and more offerings, however specific your work might seem. The creative designer starting his own production house learns accounting, client service, business management. Moving up the ranks in a company means you open up to all the wheels that run the organization, from accounting and punching numbers to budgets to investments to longer-term projections. That’s why we don’t start from the top. However, how wide should you cast your net in the skillset seas?
In my Diploma, I did Communications, Advertising and Marketing covering PR, Advertising, Marketing and Consumer Behavior, Integrated media and Direct Marketing and Sales Promotion. It was a difficult course but I loved it even though it has since been discontinued by CIM. The advantage of this course I have seen the benefits of having that all-round knowledge. Going back to the Meltwater discussion, as the line was being drawn, I felt that it is possible to marry the two at the top but on the execution level, the barrier will exist. Within the field, we know that the marketing objective is different from the advertising objective is different from the PR objective. But if you are at a management level, it pays to have your finger in each jar.
This reminder takes me back to E-myth by Michael Gerber. The technician is the one who starts the business. Why? She/he has reached such a level of mastery that the next natural progression is a bigger challenge.
Robin Sharma talks of IMAGE, the M standing for mastery. In the conversation with Anna, she points out that you have to be so good at what you do that you cannot be ignored. To get to mastery is to constantly challenge yourself to lofty, ambitious goals. Whether or not you fail, you will have done better than the low standard of comfort that most of us set. She also points out that in this changing world, the way to still get and stay ahead is to master your craft. I feel that from this point of solid knowledge, you are able to then track how to adapt your mastery with the versatile world. I started learning how to use photoshop. When I went a whole month without working on a design, the moment I tried again it was like starting from scratch. There different tools for different outcomes and learning how to use each (and there are many) is consuming. It is insane to constantly do everything from scratch, when would you move to be great? But to do one thing and do it well. This reminder takes me back to E-myth by Michael Gerber. The technician is the one who starts the business. Why? She/he has reached such a level of mastery that the next natural progression is a bigger challenge. The challenge of running the business forces out the manager in them. But then, the entrepreneur checks in to innovate and translate that mastery and best in world skill into a best in world product or service.
To lead others to greatness requires you to have met your own greatness.
As I wrote this, initially the tug of war felt like an embodiment of the saying “jack of all trades but a master of none”. The first thought is that I know about this and this and this area, I should be able to do them all. Reality is to point out what am I the best at. Many sayings about leadership point out that it starts with the self. To lead others to greatness requires you to have met your own greatness. Back to the conversation on the intersection between PR and Marketing, the masters of their craft in the discussion gave me the most important insight that I see now. Pick one. Master it. Be great.
I love these books that give such simple but powerful action points. For a quick motivational read in light of mastery catch an episode of Robin Sharma’s podcast on the 5 Mentalities of Mastery here.