A time for change

Twenty-four hours until voting opens. Ish. It depends when you read this and when the emails arrive, of course.

It’s been an interesting week of campaigning to say the least, realising where I’m coming up short and what others are saying.

It’s reminding me of the US elections; Democrats on one side, Republicans on the other and me in the middle – like Ross Perot (I have provided a link for our younger readers) but without the money and southern drawl. Those who know me well know I choose my words carefully but always speak my mind – election regs1 are so annoying! – I’m the public face of no-one’s agenda but my own.

It’s true that I don’t have awards and qualifications coming out of my ears. I have two Club Media awards from the Football Association and two ears, that’s fine.

I’m not an author or editor. I don’t run an agency or even a team.

Thing is, most of our members don’t do these things. The ones who join because they think they ought to, or because their employers pay for it. The ones who don’t use the training or services the CIPR has to offer, who don’t do CPD, who aren’t Accredited.

The Chartered Institute has a (revised, downwards) target for the number of Chartered Members it has. You can’t increase the number if you don’t have more Accredited Practitioners. You won’t get them if there isn’t a large and immediate upswing in people doing CPD.

As I said before: it’s not enough to make these things available and hope people will turn up in droves. They won’t.

We need to get out there, shake people by the lapels, engage and enthuse our members. Support them, cajole them, pick them up when they fall so they can finish the race. Can we honestly say we do that now?

The prevailing assumption is that if you get ‘professionalism’ embedded in the C-Suite (horrible phrase) then all will be well. But what’s the point if you don’t bring the members with you on the journey?

All that happens is you end up with a profession of a few thousands members, while competitor / niche organisations snaffle up the rest.

Betamax is (was) technically superior to VHS, but VHS won the war through better promotion and availability. Now hold that thought and apply it to your two favourite PR bodies. Who’s winning that war?

We shouldn’t go back on our professionalism agenda, but we also shouldn’t think that carrying on with what we’ve been doing the last few years is going to work.

That’s why I’m proud to say that the only endorsement I want is from the members when they cast their votes from 12 September. A vote for me is a vote for the members, from the members.

  1. But we won’t be in election mode forever. Then we shall see what we see. []

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