Is Your Saw Sharp?

ByMatt Tidwell, Ph.D., APR

Is Your Saw Sharp?

One of my favorite things about working on a university campus is this time of year – back to school time represents a fresh start.  Each year is a new beginning and a chance to learn new things – or maybe make good after a prior year that didn’t go so well (or where too much fun was had!)

They don’t always believe me, but I tell students that, particularly in our business, you never really stop learning.  You could argue that the field of marketing broadly, and especially marketing communications, has changed more with the digital revolution of the past 10-12 years than in several decades previously. The explosion in new technologies coupled with the rise of the empowered stakeholder make it more important than ever that those of us who work in audience communications think about our skills development.

Given this need, the value proposition for IABC should resonate more strongly than ever. Gone are the days when interacting with our broader professional community colleagues is a “nice to do” or a box to check off to make us feel like we’ve networked. The cold reality is that, if you aren’t constantly thinking about what Covey called “sharpening the saw”, you risk being left behind.  The lost opportunity cost of missing a promotion or even losing a job opportunity to someone else who presents themselves as more knowledgeable is too great to ignore.

The good news is that organizations like IABC make the process of life-long learning manageable and cost effective.  As an IABC member, for example, whether you pick up a concept or a tool that can help you on The Lab, attend a professional development session with a local chapter, or take an entire educational course through the IABC Academy, the opportunities are plentiful.

As I participate as a new member on the IABC international executive board, I am thrilled to see the very intentional and deliberate emphasis on professional development offerings. We realize that the high-caliber communications professional who joins IABC understands the need to improve themselves, and that they have careers that require multiple (and convenient) learning formats. I think it may be the most meaningful way we can contribute to the industry.

Enjoy this season and its reminder of our need to keep our saws sharp.

 

 

About the author

Matt Tidwell, Ph.D., APR contributor

Matt Tidwell, Ph. D., APR, is on the faculty of the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Kansas and directs KU’s master’s degree in integrated marketing communications. Previously, Matt helped lead communications agencies and served as senior communications director for companies including Great Plains Energy and Sanofi- Aventis Pharmaceuticals. Education and professional development are now his passion and he has been a frequent speaker locally and nationally. In addition to teaching, he conducts academic research in crisis communications and has been published in Journal of Professional Communications and IABC’s Communications World. He has a master’s in communications management from Syracuse University and a Ph.D. from KU.

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