It's pretty rare that the CEOs of organisations have come up through the PR/communication route. Usually it's a finance person, or a legal person or a policy person. Comms and PR folk are usually held back at the 2nd tier because they're there to fix it up if something goes wrong. They don't need to be involved in the decision making process.

Wrong.

Admittedly I've set up a straw-man that I'm now going to argue against but nevertheless, while anecdotal, it's fairly common to hear that comms people don't get a seat at the senior leadership table. More often than not the communications and PR manager reports into someone at the top table; this can have negative consequences for you and your organisation's brand and reputation.

It's easy enough to fall into the trap that communications and PR people just need to be informed of what's going on. That from this information they can work with management's decisions to do their job, help your organisation and improve your reputation and brand. But wouldn't it be cool if you had a communications person sitting at the top table with you? Helping you make decisions instead of being told what they are.

If you're thinking of making a business decision it's going to have an impact on your reputation and brand. It doesn't matter what that decision is, there will be an impact. It might be tiny, it might be large, but the point of having a communications manager is so they can assess that impact and help mitigate if it's bad, or promote if it's good. And this isn't just external facing decisions either, business decisions get made that have impacts internally all the time. How will staff react to it? How will it be perceived by the people who are at the coal face doing the hard work? If it’s going to go badly should the business be doing it at all? Cutting off crappy reputational decisions before they are made could save you a world pain later on.

Having a comms person sit at the top table who can let you know if your business decisions will have a positive or negative outcome means you can sometimes save yourself from serious issues born of unintended consequences. We know what we’re talking about when it comes to reputation so use our skills in the decision making process. Not just the cleaning up process.