Friday, September 11, 2009

What PRSSA Chapters Can Learn From A/E Firms

Yesterday I read this post from John Kreiss on what Architecture and Engineering firm can learn from the New England Patriots' trade of Richard Seymour. *sniff* Originally I read his post because I read most anything about my favorite teams, but Kreiss shares some valuable insights in managing a firm that I think is relevant to both PRSSA Chapters and student-run firms alike.

Start Early

I remember being asked at Conference what we do to get people involved at Northern and this is it. Officers meet over the summer so that we have things ready for the first week of school, including client lists for our firm, speakers lined up to engage us and activities to increase participation and get everyone excited about PRSSA. When our officers already have their tasks, they can identify younger members who might not know what's going on but just have a passion to do something, and delegate to them something to do. This way we harness that enthusiasm early and channel it into productivity.


This has been a major part of our Chapter's success. I was a Music Education major. Our firm director, Natalyn Giverson, was a biology major. We get most of our rockstars from other majors on campus, inform them about what public relations is (and isn't), and encourage them to join PRSSA.


Kriess talks about this in three different ways: establish expectations,
communicate them regularly, and hold people accountable.
I would add provide opportunities for regular feedback, with the difference
from that and the last point being that I see accountability more as
a function for top-down communication. Opportunities for regular feedback
means younger members giving you constructive criticism and
vice versa. That way nothing and no one falls between the cracks.

Focus on Strengths
Everyone can do something really well. Find out a) what it is, b) how they can do it for your Chapter, and c) give them an opportunity. I maybe Web Master/ Historian but there is another girl who is good with Web stuff also, and having her assist me with maintaining the Facebook page, Twitter account, Blog and the new site we're building is not only great for me, but it gives her work experience and keeps her involved.

Expect mistakes along the way

We attend a small liberal arts college and our Chapter is chock full of overachievers. We're all involved in at least two organizations outside of PRSSA, which means that occasionally some one might drop the ball. Keeping everyone on the same page means that you have two or three people who can step in on any given project or assignment and do what needs to be done. You can't plan for everything, but you can plan for most things.

What are some other ways to improve our Chapters?

1 comment:

JoJo said...

What you said about expecting mistakes along the way is such a good point. People seem to panic when something isn't perfect or when something doesn't get done on time et cetera. It sows a very solid group of people who can deal with the mistakes without panicking. I think our PRSSA chapter does a very good job of avoiding mistakes by planning things well but we still roll with the punches and find ways to make lemonade out of lemons.

The thing that would improve our chapter would be more people because then things could get finished more quickly and the responsibility would not fall on the same group of 10 every-time. I know that the ONU chapter of PRSSA will continue to grow as it continues to produce high caliber work, as long as that is consistent it will grow.