New online learning one way to meet comms staff needs

Here's one thing CCOs are looking for: Access to high quality, comms-focused training that doesn't require travel and doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

As a management consultant, I come in contact with many chief communications officers.

And when we discuss the subject of their staff’s capabilities and skills, particularly in the context of our era of rapid change and digital transformation, one desire is near universal: access to high quality, comms-focused training that doesn’t require travel and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

It was this demand, perhaps in sync with my own love of teaching--I have taught a class on corporate reputation at USC’s Annenberg School for the past 12 years--that motivated me to help lead an industry effort for access to great, affordable learning on a worldwide basis.

As a board member of Page, I tried to identify the kinds of training CCOs believe are necessary for their staffs. After a good deal of research, the following three course concepts reached priority status:

Disruptive leadership: Building teams that drive transformation
Whether you lead a team of two or 200, there’s no question that the rapidly changing operating environment requires changes to the way we work and lead our teams. This kind of course would empower leaders to drive change by preparing their teams to be agile as the field of communications evolves.

From data to insight: Analytics for business impact
We’re surrounded by the negative uses of data – from cybersecurity breaches to improper sharing – but communicators know that when used properly, data is a powerful tool for understanding consumer sentiment and refining strategy. This course would focus on how leaders can build analytical excellence within their teams.

Coherent narratives: Telling stories in a fragmented world
The 2018 Global Communications Report from the USC Annenberg School found that PR professionals believe that in just five short years, 64% of people will not be able to distinguish between paid, earned, shared, and owned media. These blurring lines mean that a company’s stories will have equal weight in the information sphere. In order to break through the noise, organizations will need to tell cohesive, compelling, and engaging narratives. This course would examine how to do that, focusing on developing narratives that move the needle on business objectives.

Page has created the Learning Lab, a collaborative, online learning opportunity for the organization’s 700-plus members and their entire comms organizations. If you’re interested, you should check it out. Other options exist, for sure, including tapping into local universities, best practice workshops leveraging client, vendor, peer, and partner relationships, and so on.

Regardless of approach, there is little question employee demand for world-class training will only grow.

Bob Feldman is cofounder and partner at PulsePoint Group. He can be reached at

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