May 31, 2009

Counselors Academy

Counselors%20AcademyToday’s Meet the Press provided a good backdrop for discussions that took place at the PRSA Counselors Academy in La Quinta California.

Back East, the “change” words that were prominent in the Meet The Press discussion from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange included investment, downsizing, competitiveness, opportunity and innovation.

Out here in the West, those words resonated throughout Steve McKee’s keynote address.  Reflecting on themes from his successful book When Growth Stalls, McKee drove home the point that understanding the causes of failure is the key to eventual success.  He identified ways to identify reasons why growth stalls, they include: Lack of Consensus, Loss of Focus, Loss of Nerve, and Lack of Consistency.  He finished by encouraging CEOs and business owners to take a confidential self-assessment at  As a side note, The Garrity Group was (and still is) a proud sponsor of Steve McKee’s address to the Counselors Academy.

The last two “classroom sessions” of the day were in the form of roundtables.  The two roundtables I attended included Lean Public Relation and (a session on how to provide effective new media strategies. 

Lean PR was of particular interest because of my familiarity with Lean Manufacturing approaches through our client New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership.  Michael Greece APR of Padilla Speer Beardsley moderated a lively discussion.  While I was anticipating a few more ideas on how to streamline processes and eliminate waste (trademarks of Lean approaches), the discussion about developing a “War Room” approach to address new business and client opportunities was particularly interesting.  There was also a lot of great discussion about how to change client perceptions.  Specifically, PR firms send mixed messages when touting results-focused activities but invoicing by the hour.  PR firms are not about selling time, we are focused on generating specific outcomes.

The discussion was led by David Anderson of Off Madison Avenue and Jason Baer of Convince & Convert.  Expectedly there was a lot of Twitter traffic on this topic.  Here are some of the Tweets that were posted during the roundtable discussion:

@Scott_Farrell: Looking to get your CEO engaged with social media? There is no silver bullet. Start small and build from there. @mmcclennan
Other great social media insights from twitter during the first day include:

@Thornley: @mcclennan companies should listen to social media discussions and ACT on what they hear before joinng the conversation

@prsachicago: Soon everything PR will be digital and everything digital will be PR. Everyone in company needs to understand it.

@Thornley Making Websites is not a great business. Revenue fluctuates. Good developers are hard to find. @jaybaer says grow other services.

@PRSAChicago The first level of social media is monitoring the conversation – Google is not enough.

@thornley: “If you’re a PR firm principal and you believe soc media is the future why would you delegate it to a kid?” @Jaybaer

@Thornley “Eventually digital and public relations will be interchangeable. Digital will be baked into everything PR.” @jaybaer

@PRSAChicago “What’s our Twitter or Facebook strategy” is the wrong question. How do you use the technologies to have better relationships?

Next up, a reception and dinner… darn, started seven minutes ago… gotta go!

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