Shanahan points out that with the current electronic communication tools available, much of corporate communication is being done without passing through professional communicators. “Everyone, anywhere within an organisation can be a communicator,” he says, resulting in unplanned communication with information gaps, information duplication, information overload, repeated mistakes and chaos.
On the other hand, Shanahan says, communication professionals still maintain their role in defining communication strategy, implementing key parts of the communication plan and controlling communication channels. They are still the masters of the craft. Despite that, there is no way to curb the proliferation of communication initiatives within the organization.
If communication professionals stick to making “efficient communication plumbing and shiny award-winning media,” he warns that they will amount to little more than being “an internal production agency, taking the decisions of others and shaping them.”
To take control of the situation, he urges professional organizational communicators to challenge all those involved in the process to consider the communication outcomes of their actions.
Communication, he asserts, “can be used as an enabler to move the business forward” by shifting from a “reactive process at the end of the decision making chain to proactivity in shaping decision making.”
Shanahan says communication professionals should realize the right to challenge and shape all communication outputs based on desired outcomes.
To make this happen, the author rightly points out that the organization has to first agree on the outcomes it wants to achieve, and then plan the appropriate communication output. This way, he asserts, the value of communication professionals is raised by linking their role with the business cycle and making the benefits they produce tangible and measurable.
With this approach, Shanahan says professional communicators can become coaches, mentors, setters of standards and policies, and educators on how those within organizations can get the most out of the tools available to them.