Your business will get ahead if you look through the turn

I'm an avid motorcyclist. The current business environment feels a lot like some of the roads I've traveled, filled with sharp turns and unexpected hazards, but also plenty of promising pavement ahead.

I'm an avid motorcyclist. The current business environment feels a lot like some of the roads I've traveled, filled with sharp turns and unexpected hazards, but also plenty of promising pavement ahead.

The events of the past few years have brought our profession into a new era of doing business. The pressure to perform is high. We're asked to help business partners in ever-increasing ways - yet often with fewer resources - to anticipate change, enhance reputation, and deliver results that provide greater impact on business goals. 

Change of this magnitude also presents new opportunities for all PR pros. The trick is whether we're "looking through the turn," a fundamental principle of motorcycling that offers a great business insight. As you approach a turn, you must look where you want to go, rather than fixate on potential hazards within the turn itself.  The challenge is keeping your eyes focused on where you want to end up while using your instincts and experience to make necessary adjustments - all at a moment's notice.

My firm is continually focused on looking through the turn for clients to help drive their business - and ours - forward in spite of the current environment. What's working for us? Here are our five top "driving" tips.

  • Thinking further ahead. Our clients need us to help them anticipate not just what they need, but what their clients or customers need, too, and deliver measurable results that matter to both.
  • Planning for the unplanned. Being prepared for anything is critical to maneuvering through shifting priorities. Sometimes being nimble is essential to being effective.
  • Listening well. Often, important information is found by listening for what isn't said and recognizing incongruities instead of things familiar. We've learned to ask more open-ended questions to help uncover the less obvious and the unforeseen opportunities.
  • Playing to your strengths. Understanding your value proposition is a must. Know what you've got and build upon those assets.
  • Taking risks. Also consider what will get you there. Remaining relevant during change is a challenge. But creating a climate of curiosity and encouraging innovation among your staff will yield better thinking and fresh approaches when it's needed most.

Looking through the turn can help drive your business forward and get you farther down the road, no matter what lies ahead.

Elise Mitchell is president/CEO of Mitchell Communications Group.

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