Northern Conference live blog - afternoon session two

This session is called Leaders of the Future with Professor Anne Gregory. The key points are captured here:

Leadership in communications comprises three things: a clear conceptualisation of the strategic role of communication in an organisation, excellence in communications planning and an ability to enact the role.

A strategic communicator has four levels of contribution within an organisation:

1) societal level - purpose is to know the organisation's role in society, its obligations and the implications. This assists strategy development, builds brand identity, maintains legitimacy, puts performance into perspective and provides an organisational antennae.

2) corporate level - purpose is to decide the shape of the business and how to deploy resources. This assists with informed decision-making and with the coaching of management on their comm's responsibilities.

3) stakeholder and financial - purpose is to decide who is or should be part of the closer stakeholder community, who is in the value chain. This aids with, among other things, the identification of customer / consumer needs, negotiating collaborations, values and monitoring performance.

4) functional - purpose is the implementation of efficient and effective programmes and campaigns.

Comm's leaders require an excellent understanding of the brand. They should be at the heart of change management. Management IS communication. Co-production, subsidiarity and engagement is how change is effected. It's a collaborative process and collaboration needs to be a core competence.

Excellence in planning, managing and evaluating communication is required to be a strong comm's leader.

In terms of competencies and behaviours, strong leaders take a strategic / longterm view and make a decision and act with confidence. They understand others and lead and support. They have diverse networks, as well as build relationships and communication infrastructures.

In terms of personal characteristics they take responsibility for high standards and maintain a positive outlook.

Ultimately there are three dimensions to leadership: - understanding the strategic role - use of business methodologies - enacting the role.

Summary: There was loads more valuable stuff in this session - Anne is as ever full of useful insights. A presentation well worth attending. Check out her latest book, Strategic PR Leadership, I will be.