When asked what advice would you give the new President by Reader's Digest, Michael D. McCurry responded "remake the bully pulpit". McCurry, who was White House press secretary between 1995 and 1998 says:
He then proceeds to offer the following advice, which is also great advice for companies:
(1) abolish the practice of holding a single televised daily press briefing by the White House press secretary - instead, the presidential press secretary needs to orchestrate a great symphony of public information. More data and facts need to get out the door. Less spin and "message control."
Try this in your organization as well - let the experts comment on what they know best, explain to employees and customers your product and services with simplicity and immediacy. Quarterly CEO web casts are great but in this day and age they need to be supplemented with a robust diet of what is going on in the marketplace.
When you orchestrate a symphony of information with data, facts, stories from the trenches, you help all stakeholders see what is going on and make better decisions as supporting actors for the business.
(2) make the White House more like the West Wing - actually he recommends reality shows as a thought. More transparency will restore trust in government.
When I talk about transparency in business, I get the look, you know, that look that says, yeah, in your dreams - our competitors will copy us. There is no way they can do it better than you can. Here's why:
If you go ahead and copy what your competitors are doing without seeing what is behind their strategy, part of which is cultural, you will bomb. Aside from the fact that we know that trying to be something you are not is not such a good idea, your prospects already have your competitor in mind when they think of solving that particular problem. Go read Positioning by Al Ries & Jack Trout, it's a classic, it's still not being done by most.
(3) make sure other agencies of government and the other branches on Capitol Hill and the Supreme Court get equal time - get the media to focus on other places where critical work is happening in the name of the American people.
This means having many more competent communicators across the organization. I'm liking this one a lot as well. It may also mean that as a leader, you will need to connect that information, provide context and perspective, illuminate the issues and point to the actions.
What advice would you add for remaking the "bully pulpit"?
Bonus link: Steve Rubel points us to Obama's lessons for PR professionals and marketers - I would add for all business leaders.