Traditionally the way I get hired for jobs is that people want to somehow game the system through branding. They think I know something magical, because I’ve studied it, and they want to “push” some sort of message.
The first thing to know is that I haven’t served as a brand manager, ever in my life. I didn’t work at Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble or Target. True I have studied brands, and branding for more than fifteen years and true I am published on the subject and I worked at a brand research think-tank as well as a brand consultancy that focused mainly on B2B brands. I’ve taught on the subject too.
The truth however is that I am a government communicator. And in the end, that’s the professional experience I bring to bear at work. I understand how the federal government bureaucracy operates, specifically in the realm of communication but also when it comes to IT, contracting and project management. Over time, my experience in these areas matters a lot more than the fantasy my employers have when I walk in the door.
Also, the truth is that my employers tend to want to do things pretty much the same way they always did them, even though they tell themselves they want to change by hiring me. It’s always a temporary salve, because communication at the end of the day is a reflection of corporate culture. And as we learn from the organizational development textbooks, culture is a deep iceberg.
Consultants earn a lot of money by telling people what they want to hear. In particular people like the fact that consultants come in and tell the truth. There is always a truthful report sitting on a shelf somewhere, that the organization paid lots and lots of money for.
At work just like in my blog I have a reputation for being very direct. I will tell you the truth as I see it. More often than not, I don’t have all the facts but my assessment of the situation is fairly accurate.
I feel like the organizations that have welcomed me most appreciate this capacity and willingness to take the risk and say what needs to be said.
Over time I have learned to express myself in ways that are less confrontational yet still faithful to my observations of the world as I see it. And have also learned that just because there is some truth out there to be told, doesn’t mean that others have to listen to it, or even want to hear it.
In the end the truth has a way of emerging when people are ready. I tend to be the one to say things before others really want to hear it.
It is painful for me to be rejected when I first speak out. But this is the reality of my existence.
All opinions my own.
Leave a Reply