ALEXANDER Postscript
Habit 2: You Cannot Do Everything for Everyone—Prioritize / “10 Habits to Optimize PR Effectiveness”
By Max Meng / Wednesday, March 18, 2009
The second habit is something everyone is aware of but has a hard time doing.  Most public relations professionals are plagued with a common ailment—that is, a belief that they must do everything for everyone. Such a belief is simply impractical. It’s important to learn how to prioritize and streamline processes.
I was asked to lead a corporate communications department in New York City for a health plan.  My CEO and vice president assigned me with the immediate task of making the department more efficient in anticipation for several new product rollouts. The company was recently awarded a contract by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to offer two new Medicare Advantage programs for seniors within the New Your City metro area.  
My deadline was tight—I only had six months to develop an integrated marketing strategy and have it in place with marketing support materials ready for the sales department to use. At the same time, we were asked to perform our routine
Habit 1: Always Reference Higher Authority / “10 Habits of Optimize PR Effectiveness”
By Max Meng / Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Over the years, I have observed 10 behaviors public relations professionals must become skilled at to have a seat at the corporate table.  I refer to them as “10 Habits to Optimize PR Effectiveness” and I encourage all whom I counsel to follow them. I am going to share these 10 habits over the next ten weeks.
The first habit is to make it a matter of policy to always reference higher authority.
A good friend of mine, who heads a Public Affairs office in New York City for a worldwide organization, is an attorney. He confided to me when he gives advice as an attorney he is never questioned, but as a public affairs executive his counsel is always challenged. “It appears everyone thinks they know how to do public relations,” he said. “It’s as if the student knows more than the professor.” My friend is right.
Other disciplines support advice based on a body of knowledge, which in essence is the word or higher authority. For example, an attorney gives advice based on jurisprudence. A
How to establish a collaborative environment among teams
By Max Meng / Wednesday, March 4, 2009
In the workplace, organizations in many countries around the world are relying more and more on work teams and see them as a valuable asset to accomplish goals and objectives. I recently read an article by Greg Burns entitled “The Secrets of Team Facilitation” from Training & Development (Alexandria: Jun 1995. Vol. 49, Iss. 6; pg. 46). Burns theorizes that the common denominator for effective work teams is high-quality facilitation. He says that facilitation focuses mainly on group processes and he emphasizes that trained facilitators need to have competency in two broad areas: diagnostic skills and intervention skills. Expert facilitators should have a mastery of eight principles: 1) group development; 2) goals; 3) roles; 4) communication; 5) meeting management; 6) decision making; 7) problem solving; and 8) conflict management.
I found several other points of particular interest, one of which was where Burns emphasizes goals among the group members need to be “specific, easily
Issue Life Cycle clarifies difference between “issues management” and “crisis management”
By Max Meng / Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Some mistakenly consider issues management as synonymous with crisis management.  This oversight is recognized among seasoned practitioners.  While it can be argued crisis management, which deals with containment and response, is part of issues management, the later is not crisis driven.  Issues management is a planning process used to anticipate emerging issues.  It also describes a strategic function, which coordinates an integrated effort to raise the level of the debate through meaningful dialog in hopes of clarifying a position to avoid, if possible, an issue from evolving into a crisis.  In fact, the issue life cycle clearly distinguishes the difference between these two concepts.  
Referring to the figure (see above) of the issue life cycle, the X-axis represents duration in which an issue evolves.  The Y-axis represents the level of intensity.  As the intensity of an issue begins to rise, so does the level of pressure upon the organization for acceptance of the issue.
Multiple-way communication runs in the family
By Max Meng / Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Companies today continually face challenges to keep up with new innovations especially with the use of mobile computer technology, a desire to get close to the customer, and an increased use of direct marketing databases. Similar pressures to embrace technology also affect individuals and their close relationships with others. I was reminded of this the other day when talking to my two teenage daughters.
In our home, we don’t gather around the kitchen table. Instead our discussions occur in our family room in front of our large flat screen television, which is usually connected via video internet for an update from our oldest son in Rocky Mountains of Idaho. During this time, our teens are comfortably seated on the couch each with a laptop open on their knees surfing the net or exchanging emails among friends. As you can image, they’re skilled multi-taskers. Their mobile phones are open and ready for text messaging or an occasional phone call. We agreed previously to keep these
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