Sunday, February 04, 2007
Passion with Purpose
The business of building and maintaining positive public perception rests of fundamental pillars of Passion & Purpose which are fanatically pursued at Blue Lotus. This article attempts to decipher the elements that go into the making of a successful public relations agency.
The power of Passion
Passion is an extraordinarily powerful spring. Without it religion, history, romance, and art are useless. Likewise, Public Relations too becomes completely deflated without the essential ingredient of Passion. It demonstrates avowed belief, everlasting appeal and steadfast loyalty. So why does passion become so much more important in the business of public relations as compared to any other service industry?
To convert others to your way of thinking, being a believer first is essential. It is then that you can take a convincing stand with people of different attitudes, perceptions and sensitivities. It is necessary to have an obsessive faith in your client’s business & philosophy and your own organizational vision to be able to transmit it through written and spoken word such that its effervescence is delivered undiluted.
Whether it is body language of a PR professional sitting across the table, or it is through a written document, or a presentation, it is passion which communicates. Without passion, there is no story to tell!
In a PR agency, passion must become a management mission – an everyday task taken on by the Organizational Head, Team Leaders and Managers – allowing it to spread infectiously throughout the entire organization. Percolating down the agency, passion must show even in the most mundane tasks that the organization does.
The zeal of purpose
“Many people have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” In a self-made organization, one that emerges from the grassroots, where the milestones for the first few years are just survival, the purpose often gets diluted with time. This usually occurs due to a lack of sound fundamentals, or the lack of attention to the basics.
Starting on the right basics is more than half the battle won. When we started Blue Lotus, we began on four founding principles; firstly, to have complete focus on the client’s business goals and not money that the client was paying. Money would be only a by-product. We believed that if we did our job well, there would be enough and more of the by-product to go around. Secondly, at the starting block itself we decided that Blue Lotus would be co-owned, where each person would share the benefits of growth and the responsibilities commensurately. The next founding principle was that of fomenting creative-friction continuously in our people. We argued that creativity was not the intellectual property of any one person, and unless we encouraged a healthy friction, we would stagnate. The fourth and most sacred belief that we drilled into ourselves was that of maintaining the highest standard of ethics in all our professional transactions.
For an organization to have common purpose, a vision of common destinies is essential. Common purpose is easy to maintain when you are a small organization working out of one office, but as the company grows geographically and numerically, this common organizational purpose very often gets diluted. To ensure that the organizational purpose maintains its purity, it is necessary that enough time be spent with each new inductee, to ingrain them with the organizational principles, beliefs and ethos. Revisiting this purpose frequently is also critical to ensure an unadulterated sense of purpose over decades of organizational life.
In a public relations consultancy, the need for a stringent adherence to its purpose can frequently be the deciding factor in its success. One not only needs to zealously believe in the purpose of your own organization, but also in that of your clients. To align oneself to the vision of client organizations is not an easy task. Perhaps this is where a due-diligence of the clients is a useful tool in ensuring that you do not sign up clients with viewpoints conflicting with yours. The courage to say NO to potential clients without a culture-fit to your own beliefs can help make the organizational purpose stay vibrant and alive despite of the growth or geographical spread.
Passion with Purpose - a winning combination
Even singly, passion and purpose are extremely potent tools to build sound agency basics, but used together – it can make the agency completely unassailable. Firm belief in your organizational vision and using the tenets of Passion and Purpose are only a start point. To make ensure a working model, this vision must percolate from the top and carried forth in every action of the organization.
The advantages of starting from the grassroots cannot be understated. It is like having a blank canvas, lots of paint and your creativity. Let not your passion to colour the canvas use up all the paint and neither let not your purpose to paint, curb your creativity. Using a judicious mix of the two, think as Da Vinci would before he painted the Madonna or Michealangelo would before he changed a block of stone to into a stunningly life-like image of David.
Fueling Enterprise Innovation
Enterprise Innovation, an entrepreneurial skill is an essential ingredient that ensures that the organization is knowledge-based. Innovation emerges from the ability of an organization to canalize the creativity of its people and allowing them to take risks; attempting new strategies, entering new arenas and going into hitherto unexplored territories.
The engines of Passion & Purpose stimulate innovative thinking and can be turbo-fueled by a controlled risk-conducive environment. Such an entrepreneurial spirit creates an enterprise-wide electrifying environment that invites tougher and tougher challenges and one that encourages continuous organizational learning.
Passion, Purpose, Innovation, Entrepreneurial Spirit and Creativity, all stem from a love for anarchy of thought, an organized chaos of the mind and an ability to see beauty that is yet to be articulated. If an enterprise consciously foments the growth you will not only see your agency grow and flourish, but you will see a haloed aura about your organization that attracts people and clients to your business.