You must find the time to adapt

Business is always growing, expanding, and accelerating. That's not going to change. If anything, things will continue to become more challenging.

In May 2009, I had the privilege of having my very first column published by PRWeek. It was about adapting to changing conditions. It touched on a few areas, not the least of which was the ever-evolving world of digital. Additionally, it reached a bit into how PR pros needed to do a better job of adjusting how they react and respond to the media landscape – digital or otherwise.

I keep that column in a frame, where it sits about six feet from where I work every day. On one hand, it's a sentimental item that means something to my career. On the other hand, it's a constant reminder of something I'm always aware of, but, more importantly, of something that continues to be prevalent within our industry – lack of adaption to changing conditions.

Recently, our firm has seen solid growth in multiple areas of our business, something I'm proud to be a part of. As such, we're interviewing candidates at a number of levels, from all sorts of agencies and other organizations. Throughout those interviews and conversations I've had with friends and others within the PR and greater marketing space, however, there is a lot of dialogue about how people are unhappy in their current roles, not seeing traction with “the way they've always done things,” and so forth.

It's very telling.

It's not just about people being lazy and not bothering to even try and start a relationship with a journalist, or purely relying on “lists” someone handed them, or even the (mis)use of digital tools such as Facebook or Twitter. It's about time, or the lack of it. Not having the time to figure out the best tools for the job, or the best relationship to tap into, or heck, even to read what's going on in one's industry every day.

When did that fall by the wayside? We're all busy. Heck, I remember the days when I had 400 to 500 subscriptions in my RSS reader and somehow, across the span of 12 to 15 hours, I was able to get through it all and at least scan headlines. We're all busy, and we all have more demands – from our team members, clients, family, and friends – but that doesn't mean we shouldn't consistently look to put our best foot forward.

No client – at least no client that you probably want to have a long-term relationship with – is going to walk away if, when you're asked to do something instantaneously, you want to “take a beat” to assess the situation, rather than give them a snap judgment on outreach, a launch concept, or something larger or more costly.

Business is always growing, expanding, and accelerating. That's not going to change. If anything, things will continue to become more challenging. That's why we need to push ourselves to adapt more, adapt better, and recognize change, not cast it aside until we “have time” to do something about it.

Tom Biro is VP at the Seattle office of Allison+Partners. His column focuses on how digital media affects and shifts PR. He can be reached at or on Twitter @tombiro.

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