Proactivity – most important character trait for PR

10/17/2019 - Lori Bertelli

A few weeks ago, I shared ideas for agencies to fight talent churn which leads to happier clients. Throughout my career I’ve tracked the importance of being a proactive team member. Being proactive is a top character trait for a PR professional, and if developed (and we all can develop it!), we will combat talent burnout and departures and keep clients happy.

A proactive mindset
In her book “Mindset: The new psychology of success,” Carol Dweck outlines the power of a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset. Dweck shares how we can attain success and happiness by how we think about our talents and abilities. According to a description of the book, “People with a fixed mindset believe that abilities are fixed and are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset—those who believe that abilities can be developed.”

If we adopt a growth mindset, we will be more inclined to be proactive. As PR professionals and members of teams/agencies there are several areas in our daily lives where we can apply a growth, proactive mindset.

Look at a major part of our PR world: media. It is especially important for us to be proactive with media. We constantly research key reporters and trends that relate to our clients’ industries. Everyone on our team should adopt a proactive media mindset and bring ideas to weekly meetings. When each team member has a goal to bring one or two proactive ideas to each meeting, it’s amazing what transpires. Each meeting then becomes a proactive brainstorm.

A proactive mindset also leads to creativity. Many agencies have lost clients because the client feels they are constantly getting the agency up to speed or feeding them ideas. As agency professionals, we need to be proactively curious and continue to ask questions. It’s important to have discovery days often and not just at the start of the relationship. Many things change within companies—new executive hires, new partners—by not asking proactive questions that help us bring creative ideas to the table, our clients lose trust in us because we are transactional and reactive. Stay curious, friends!

Or consider what a growth, proactive mindset could do for your own work environment. With this approach, you help to create the work environment you want to be in rather than waiting for someone else to create this space for you. What did you like from another job that you think would be good to implement at your new job? Or what should be changed? In an open and supportive environment, all levels of employees should make their workplace what they want it to be. We all play a part in this – we can’t sit by hoping someone else will do something about it. Think of the common suggestion boxes we’ve all seen before. In an open workplace, our ideas should be accepted always. Talk to your direct manager and mention to him or her proactive ideas you have and how you would go about implementing them. Together, you could create an improvement or new idea that makes your agency better and adds to why others will want to join or stay.

A big detriment to an organization is when any of us let something fester and we are inactive. If we truly invest in our workplace and contribute to proactively making it the place we want to work, it will be that place.

Our moms and dads used to tell us about the power of a positive attitude. The next step is teaching the power of a proactive mindset. We can do great things for ourselves and our clients by being proactive.