Monday, October 04, 2004


There is one lesson every PR practitioner should learn and rehearse throughout his or her career. It is this: Progress requires clear objectives. Obvious? No, it isn't. Time and again, I have witnessed clients who don't know what they want to do or who charge off into directions that make little sense.

I'm ranting because I sat through a lengthy board meeting last night at a nonprofit organization where it happened again. A committee had been meeting for a year on a task -- a year! --, and it showed up at the board meeting to propose what it was going to do without a clear statement of its objective. Predictably, the board erupted into factions with one group calling for this position and another for that and a third for something else. After an hour of wrangling, one member was fed up and gave us an earful. The fellow was right, and we deserved his broadside.

How the heck can a committee go for a year without clear objectives? That question baffles me. The first question any group should ask is "What are we doing here? What is our mission and objective?" If that isn't clear, stop everything until it is.

I feel sorry for the committee members, but there is a hint of progress. The board determined that we will meet again soon and discuss options. We won't leave the room until we have a specific direction for the committee -- a direction to which we commit.

It would have been nice had we done that a year ago.

(Sorry for the late posting today. Blogger was upchucking again last night and this a.m.)


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