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You’ve read the text books, done the courses, and watched the videos, and you already know that you business or organisation needs a clear strategy, perceptive communications, and public affairs nous, to ensure fruitful engagement with your stakeholders – be they clients, politicians, media, or the public – but you just don’t have the time or skills to do the work. Well, help is at hand, as over twenty years of experience are at your disposal.

Let me guide you through the development of a successful strategy that adapts to present and future change; devise communications that put your ideas at the forefront of the mind; engage your stakeholders to achieve pre-eminence in your given field; and suggest routes for staff and personal learning and development. Contact me: info@michael-hoare.co.uk

 

 

 

Strategy

Strategy may be the science of planning and directing operations and applying skill in managing an organisation or projects. But how many of us take the time, indeed have the time, to strategise adequately?

In small, fast moving, organisations time simply doesn’t allow for the right level of contemplation. So, far too often, we are merely pushed along by events, often just reacting to circumstances, rather than being able to draw a detailed high altitude road map in our own mind’s eye that will help us navigate around blockages.

My experience tells me that strategies for change most often already exist in organisations but it may be difficult for management to see the wood for the trees, unlocking those ideas that already exist in the minds of staff; that’s where an objective eye can be so helpful.

Example: SaferGems

Often a series of almost unrelated events will be enough to trigger a course of thinking and a strategy that leads to measurable improvements. For example, just such a series of small events led me over the course of three years from initial spark – the realisation that there was an increasing crime problem in my sector – to today where the initiative I co-founded now shares intelligence on annual losses of nearly £15 million, and co-operates nationally and internationally to reduce retail crime.

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Communications

Simply put, communication is the giving or exchange of information and ideas, either by talking or writing. In reality, it’s a bit more difficult than that, especially when the ideas that must be communicated are complex, challenging, or even unpalatable! Plus, not everyone is comfortable with writing or addressing groups; the page is alarmingly blank and any audience too big for many managers! But changing people’s minds doesn’t always mean confronting them. The process can be more subtle and involve gently but inexorably exploring, and subtly examining new ideas, assuming the role of thought leader.

Examples: Ethics, Kimberley Process, RJC

A decade ago the jewellery sector was reeling under accusations that it was by default complicit in condoning the trade in conflict diamonds and fuelling the arms supply to rebel armies in West Africa. The trade’s knee jerk reaction was one of denial and refusal to acknowledge the existence of a problem. There were others who would have preferred not to rock the boat. Ten years later we are at the forefront of the debate on ethical supply chains and providing examples for others to follow. How did we get here?

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Public Affairs

The term is often used to describe an organisation’s relationship with their stakeholders; be they individuals or groups with an interest in the organisation’s affairs, such as MPs, civil servants, shareholders, customers, clients, trade associations, think tanks, business groups, unions and the media. The skill is to actively engage them in order to explain those policies, provide statistical and factual information and to lobby on issues which could impact upon the organisation’s ability to operate successfully. This often combines government relations, media communications, issue management, corporate and social responsibility information dissemination and strategic communications advice; the aim is to influence public policy, build and maintain a strong reputation and find a common ground with stakeholders.

Opportunities to get involved in public affairs are pretty much never-ending, but the real skill is in being selective and running with the issues that can make a visible difference. Sometimes this means being reactive to circumstances, sometimes having a plan and being proactive. Foresight would help, but being alert is just as effective.

Examples: Responding to the DTI Competitive Analysis, Red Tape Challenge, and Portas Report

Most recently, my last association engaged strongly with the debate on the future of high street shopping, of town centres, and localism – sparked in part by the Portas report and recommendations – but over the years, starting in 2002 with the DTI Competiveness Analysis into the Jewellery Sector, and continuing with examples like the Red Tape Challenge, the chances to engage in public affairs have been legion!

 

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