Three Important Changes

Entrepreneurs, Events, High Technology, Public Relations Posted May 21, 2014 by Kayla Krause

Acronyms tend to overwhelm me; and I get anxious when I encounter unfamiliar ones, which is fairly often since we live in a world full of them. You can then imagine my predicament when I attended an information security seminar last week that ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association) put on with ISSA (Information Systems Security Association) and IAPP (International Association of Privacy Professionals).

I went because one of CHEN’s clients, Co3 Systems, was there to give a talk on preparing chief information security officers (CISO) for their first 90 days on the job. Blinking away the confusion of alphabet soup that preceded him, one of CEO John Bruce’s (acronym-free) slides stood out to me. It was entitled, “Three important changes.”

John Bruce's ISACA seminar slide_3 changes

John’s Venn Diagram addressed the three elements key to a CISO’s success, and by the time he began describing the third bubble, it occurred to me that I could apply this concept to my own situation. These changes—expanded scope, broader relationships, and executive sponsorship—paralleled the changes I encountered upon entering the public relations field.

I realized I had experienced (and would continue to experience) many changes, the first being learning to adapt to new processes and figuring out how they could work to my benefit. This meant expanding my views, and learning and accepting new ways of doing things. Like any new experience there were times when I stumbled and encountered roadblocks, but by practicing and asking a ton of questions, I found the answers. Learning how to pitch a story idea to a reporter, for example, and understanding the editorial process took some practice but, like the saying goes, “practice makes perfect.” By going through this process of trial and error, it helped (and continues to help) me find the approach that works best for me.

Same goes for the next important change John mentioned: “broader relationships.” It takes practice to expand your network and build relationships. I’m a friendly, open-minded person and tend to make friends and conversation easily. But after stepping into public relations, I learned there are many different ways to communicate—whether it’s through email etiquette, meeting and networking at events, or talking face-to-face with clients during planning meetings—public relations defines what it is to communicate. There’s a certain level of relationship you must achieve and maintain with clients, reporters, analysts, colleagues, and anyone you might encounter professionally. It’s a continuous stream of communication, raising the level of confidence and overall trust in your relationship with that other person or organization. It’s the most important aspect of public relations, and complements other key elements.

As John described the last change in his presentation, “executive sponsorship,” it reminded me of a third element to my profession: execution. It’s not enough to merely understand the functions of a job and how to communicate within those parameters; you’ve got to put it into practice. For me, it was like that feeling before running into the ocean for the first time in the summer. I know it’s going to be cold so I prepare for the worst and then dive head-first into the water. After coming up for air (and catching my breath) I realize it’s not so bad, and it sure beats the agonizing inch-at-a-time method.

By meshing these important changes and seeing how they overlapped, I realized that I was already following John’s model. Using my experience in journalism and marketing and combining it with knowledge gained from past experiences eased the process of learning and navigating the public relations profession.

I can still be overwhelmed by acronyms, but YOLO!