When did you last inspire someone? Can’t remember, or are you just too modest to admit it? To inspire is to create the hope of a better future for internal communication, for the talent we spot and the profession as a whole. With that in mind we should all set our modesty aside and become active players in the inspiration game.
When did you last inspire someone?
Can’t remember, or are you just too modest to admit it?
Perhaps it’s easier and a little less cringeworthy for us to frame this question as ‘who has inspired you lately’, but let’s stick with my lens for a moment because I think that actively inspiring others and consciously knowing you have done so is important for those of us working in internal communication.
I admit it, I’m inspiring!
Firstly, I’m going to admit to inspiring some people. There, see, it’s easy to own up to it really!
Over the course of my career I’ve been lucky enough to regularly spot potential internal communications talent and have then gone out of my way to inspire those people to make a career out of it. Sometimes those individuals haven’t even been working in internal communication roles, but I’ve spotted the spark that they might ‘get it’ and haven’t been able to resist inspiring them to find out more about what we do.
I think that more of us need to be doing this and playing the inspiration game. Why? Because at the moment the way the majority of people arrive in our industry is just a bit too chaotic. We tend to fall into internal communication from something else and often by accident.
I think I’m a fairly typical example of this. I was a Tax Inspector, of all things, before being plucked out of the Inspectorate because I was good at writing. The rest, as they say, is history. I didn’t choose IC, it chose me, and there are more stories like mine being shared as part of the Institute of Internal Communication’s current hashtag campaign #IChoseIC. Check out their blog for some great stories.
Learning on the job
After falling into IC, like so many other internal communicators, I spent years on the job teaching myself how to do it (not always with the best results) or learning from others who were also self-taught, and frankly some who should never have been internal communicators in the first place. It was a decade before I decided to even think about a qualification or doing some kind of continuous professional development. I dread to think how much damage I may have done, in those early days, out of pure ignorance!
Now, imagine what might happen if other professionals, like lawyers, doctors or architects, entered their industries in the same chaotic way. Initially learning on the job and only thinking about doing some study, getting a qualification or engaging in CPD after several years in the role. I really wouldn’t want my divorce, hip replacement or my new build house in the hands of amateurs like that. Would you?
Now, perhaps I’m being too parochial and internal communication and wider PR just isn’t that important to society to merit such a comparison. What do you think?
To inspire is to create hope
The thing is, however important or unimportant we might be, we need more structure in how people get into internal communication so that they have a better introduction to the industry and are encouraged to think about doing some structured study and possibly joining a relevant professional body a bit earlier in their career. Things are slowly changing and some people are actively signing up for an internal communications career straight out of university or other study, but we need to do more.
I think that providing some inspiration and acting as a guide for those who show some interest and aptitude (and conversely, discouraging those who won’t be any good at it), is a part of how we can collectively achieve this
To inspire is to create the hope of a better future for internal communication, for the talent we spot and the profession as a whole.
With that in mind we should all set our modesty aside and become active players in the inspiration game.
P.S. Before the rumours start, I’m not getting a divorce, hip replacement or having a new house built!