I had a visit from the vet who was checking on my aging horse today. As he has been getting older (20 this year) he has needed a lot more care and attention. I suppose that is like everything people, animals, houses and lots of other things. All need more looking after when the years take their toll.
In the past couple of days I had been a little worried that my horse had dropped a bit of weight and probably needed more energy to ensure he can stay fit in the cold weather of the winter months. It was a concern that the vet supported and I was given some advice about how to keep condition and weight on in the coming weeks.
It was only because I could recognise the early signs that I should hopefully be able to deal with it quickly and avoid further weight loss. This reminded me how important it is for people at work to be able to spot the warning signs of things before they get worse. For professional communicators it is a skill or bit of intuition that is essential.
If we are to be able to advise managers and bosses about the best course of action when a set of circumstances occur, then we absolutely have to be able to spot things early and offer a range of options. As I get older I realise that much of this is honed and developed through years of experience. I know we have the intuition but if we are really concentrating and learning then experience will teach us a lot. As communicators we have to continually develop our skills and build on our knowledge.
I have written a number of times about how the modern communication professional faces a 24/7 environment. There is little down time when you have the impact of social media and rolling news. We have to be alive to emerging trends, issues and risks in a way that previously was only reserved for critical incidents and crises. Now, if we are going to be able to recognise those small changes that are signals of something we have to be on the ball round-the-clock. We need to have access to the right people to tackle issues early on and we have to be ready to offer advice. It is a challenge but one that we have to grasp to find the opportunities that exist.