Thursday, November 02, 2006

Logic and Illogic, Chaos and Control 

Sometimes it is the obvious things in our business that are in danger of being forgotten -- or never learned. One is the illogical nature of much of what a PR practitioner confronts in daily tasks. PR is often bound by likes, dislikes, perceptions and prejudices of individuals that don't fit neatly into matrices and mathematics. Yet, with a move to manage PR more rationally, there are those who step too far into the abstract and get away from the muck of daily operations. They believe one can rigorously control message themes and communications only to find that chaos erupts at unfortunate points, sometimes self-inflicted and sometimes not. Just ask John Kerry.

That is the reason I've completed this essay as a reminder to those who move too far into business organization that PR is frequently disorganized. Yes, we try to apply controls but often enough, controls don't work. An event is out of control. An interest group won't be placated. A reporter is out to get the company.

CEOs, trained in control, can become overbearing when this happens. They will order the practitioner to "just stop it." But, the practitioner can't "just stop it." It takes a mature and wise CEO to recognize that life is beyond the reach of matrices.

As usual, I am eager to hear any comments about what I write - pro or con.


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