Six months has flown by, but it has also felt like a long time since we start to feel the impact of Covid-19. Lockdown day in the UK will forever be imprinted on my brain because that was day one of my new venture. Establishing and running my own consultancy had always been an ambition and something I was working towards. After more than 20 years working in-house I have learnt a lot.
I have a lot of respect for all those who are working in-house. It can be a lonely place and often it feels like the PR industry is going on around you. You can feel on the fringes and excluded from what everyone else is doing or talking about. In the past I have felt that in-house was looked down upon and seen as an easy option.
Throughout my experience it was far from that. It was tough, really tough. The work was relentless and the space for planning, personal development and evaluation was always being squeezed. It became the normal way of working. Now that I have moved away from it I can see the damage it can do.
I spent a lot of time working with teams and talking to people about the importance of planning for issues and risks. Now more than ever it is critical to be ready for a crisis. But that is the future and the day-to-day always takes priority. We know that we should be doing the work to plan and prepare, to debrief and to develop, but there is never enough time.
The move out of in-house has shown me what I was missing. My perspective on the work in hand was narrow and the continued pressure kept me looking only a few feet ahead. I am now able to see what I was missing, a connection to people and the wider world.
Communication is about connecting with people and you can only do that effectively if you allow yourself to be human. I am more human now than I have been for some years. I am learning and developing every day. When I talk to teams about the need to prioritise, focus on what matters had have time to plan and look after yourself, they give the same look I used to. The ‘do you know how busy I am, I haven’t got time’ face. Trust me I know what it is like, but also trust me enough to make a change now.