Final Melbourne Mandate document

At the World Public Relations Forum 2012 in Melbourne almost 800 delegates from 29 countries endorsed the Melbourne Mandate, a call to action of new areas of value for public relations and communication management. The process was led by Dan Tisch and Jean Valin.

Download the final Melbourne Mandate document or read the text below.
Please note that the Melbourne Mandate document is available also in Italianin French (thank you to the Société Québécoise des Professionnels en Relations Publiques for the translation), in Indonesian and in Spanish.

THE MELBOURNE MANDATE:

A call to action for new areas of value in public relations and communication management

WORLD PUBLIC RELATIONS FORUM

NOVEMBER 2012

The mandate of public relations is to build and sustain strong relationships between an organisation and its publics, and, in doing so, contribute to society.

The Global Alliance’s 2010 Stockholm Accords affirmed the characteristics of the communicative organisation and the value of public relations and communications professionals in management, governance, sustainability, and internal and external communication.

Today, unprecedented public access to communication presents new challenges and opportunities for organisations – and for global society. This presents a new mandate for public relations and communication management: a set of roles, responsibilities and principles hereby endorsed by delegates to the 2012 World Public Relations Forum in Melbourne, Australia.

The new mandate

Public relations and communication professionals have a mandate to:

  • define and maintain an organisation’s character and values;
  • build a culture of listening and engagement; and
  • instill responsible behaviours by individuals and organisations.

These roles are essential and interconnected: an organization must understand its character and responsibility to have meaningful engagement with its stakeholders. Taken together, these roles form an essential contribution to organisational strategy, and to society.

 Principles

Defining an organisation’s character and values.

The communicative organisation has a clear sense of its core or ‘DNA,’ which consists of three strands:

  1. Values: the set of values the organisation lives by and which guides its decisions and behaviour.
  2. Leadership: the responsibility of leaders to model the character and values of the organisation and beliefs on how it should operate, through decisions taken and the direction they set.
  3. Culture: the processes, structures, collective behaviour and ways of working that are part of organisational life. These things affect the way people and groups interact with each other internally and with external stakeholders.

Public relations and communication professionals have a mandate to:

  1. Shape organisational character by enhancing, maintaining and protecting the organisation’s authenticity – its reputation for consistently communicating truth and meriting trust.
  2. Be guardians of the organisation’s character and values by providing feedback to the organisation on how this character is being judged and received, and communicating the character to stakeholders.
  3. Ensure organisational values guide decisions and actions internally, and that externally they are recognized and understood by stakeholders.
  4. Evaluate the organisation against those values by monitoring stakeholder views and discussions about the organisation.
  5. Help leaders to uphold and communicate those values to inspire stakeholders to follow, support, or change behaviour.
  6. Help leaders understand where they need to change, and ensure they are equipped to be effective communicators and to embrace communication responsibilities.
  7. Work with senior managers, human resource professionals and other management functions to ensure that structures, processes and ways of working reflect the claimed organisational character and values.
  8. Research and create initiatives that bring the culture to life, recommending the most appropriate communication channels, content and tone.

Building a culture of listening and engagement.

The communicative organisation:

  1. Builds trust through respectful and enduring relationships with both internal and external stakeholders and the wider community.
  2. Pursues policies and practices based on internationally recognized standards for corporate responsibility, sustainability, reporting and transparency.
  3. Sees listening and engagement as a research-based process to identify both risks and opportunities, in which all internal and external stakeholders can play a role.

Public relations and communication professionals have a mandate to:

  1. Develop research methodologies to measure an organisation’s capacity to listen, and apply these metrics before and after the pursuit of strategy and during any major action.
  2. Identify and activate channels to enable organisational listening.
  3. Identify all stakeholder groups affected by the pursuit of an organisation’s strategy, both now and in the future.
  4. Identify all stakeholder groups that affect the pursuit of the organisation’s strategy, both now and in the future.
  5. Identify these stakeholder groups’ expectations and consider them both in the organisation’s strategy and before taking any action.
  6. Ensure sound reasons are communicated to stakeholders in cases where their expectations cannot be met.
  7. Prove that the organisation is genuinely listening as it takes actions in pursuit of its strategy.
  8. Evaluate the effectiveness of the organisation’s listening.

Instilling societal, organisational, individual and professional responsibility.

The communicative organisation understands the responsibility flowing from two core principles:

  1. The organisation derives its licence to operate from the value it creates for all its stakeholders, which benefits society at large.
  2. The value of an organisation is linked directly to its reputation, which in turn is sustained by building trust, acting with integrity and being transparent about the organisation’s strategy, operations, use of capital and performance.

Public relations and communication professionals have a mandate to…

Demonstrate societal responsibility by:

  1. Creating and maintaining transparent – open, honest and accessible – processes and credible communication that balance public interests with organisational needs.
  2. Supporting the sustainability strategies of the communities from which the organisation obtains resources and its licence to operate.
  3. Ensuring that communication on behalf of employers, clients and brands does not overstate the value of products and services, which would distort the expectations of consumers and other stakeholders.
  4. Defining accountability metrics against which contributions to society should be measured and improved.

Demonstrate organisational responsibility by:

  1. Providing strategic relationship and communication counsel to organisational leaders to ensure responsible decisions and actions.
  2. Seeking to align internal and external stakeholder interests, and to ensure that organisational values and actions meet or exceed societal expectations.
  3. Influencing and contributing to the organisation’s sustainability strategies.
  4. Reinforcing an organisational culture of improvement by engaging internal and external stakeholders in meaningful dialogue and positive change.
  5. Defining accountability metrics to evaluate and improve the contribution of relationships and communication strategies to the achievement of organisational goals.

Demonstrate professional responsibility by:

  1. Understanding, abiding by and operating in accordance with the relevant professional codes of ethics.
  2. Communicating the professional standards that guide public relations and communication to internal and external stakeholders.
  3. Maintaining competence by continually pursuing education and learning so as to perform responsibly and effectively.

And demonstrate personal responsibility by:

  1. Ensuring one’s personal communication is always truthful, and that one’s actions reflect the imperatives of doing good and creating mutual benefit over the long term.
  2. Recognizing and appreciating differences between one’s personal values and those of organisational stakeholders and communities, in line with societal expectations.
  3. Taking personal ownership of the professional standards by which day-to-day decisions and actions are governed.
  4. Being willing to make tough decisions – and understanding the consequences – when circumstances, society or the organisation create conditions that prevent or contradict one’s professional standards.
  5. Being accountable for one’s decisions and actions.

BE IT RESOLVED THAT

The 160,000 professionals represented in the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management strive to use the principles of the Melbourne Mandate to advocate, demonstrate and enhance the value of public relations and communication to their organisations and communities, and to global society.

 

APPENDIX:

THE INTEGRITY INDEX & TESTING VALUES

Values are the publicly declared ‘contract’ that an organisation has with its stakeholders on how it will fulfill its mission and purpose: a declaration of what principles guide its decisions-making and behaviour. Given that values are so closely tied to and indeed, define character, the extent to which an organisation lives up its values is a test of its authenticity and integrity.

Values can be checked in one or both of two ways:

1. Outside-in: Where existing discussions about an organisation are analysed, values ‘in use’ can be abstracted. For example, by using a social media partner, it would be possible to undertake analysis of a variety of stakeholders to identify the range of values that are attributed to an organisation and by whom. It would also be possible to build an overall picture. The same principle can apply to traditional media analysis and to other forms of conversation and feedback between an organisation and its stakeholders.

2. Inside-out: Where the organisation asks stakeholders to rate their performance against declared values using the values spidergram.

The matching of these two perspectives brings enriched insights.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Melbourne Mandate Draft Statement for public review

The Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management has released the second draft of the Melbourne Mandate, a call to action for new areas of value in public relations and communication management. The Mandate is named for the site of the upcoming Seventh World Public Relations Forum, where delegates will debate the document’s contents.

Please review the second Melbourne Mandate draft text below (or download the PDF) and give us your views on the following questions:

  1. Does the Melbourne Mandate capture the most critical emerging areas of value for public relations and communication management?
  2. The Melbourne Mandate’s first section focuses principally on the role of public relations in organizations; the second focuses on our interaction with stakeholders; and the third focuses also on the responsibility to society. Is the balance right?
  3. Can the Melbourne Mandate be applied in every culture, or are variations required? If so, which specific variations and why?
  4. The Melbourne Mandate includes some high aspirations for public relations. How can we prepare ourselves – as professionals and as a profession – to live up to these aspirations?
  5. As a professional, how could you actually use the Melbourne Mandate to advocate the role and value of public relations?

Read the second Melbourne Mandate draft below or (download the PDF) and post your comments.

Download the first Melbourne Mandate draft.

 

THE MELBOURNE MANDATE:

A call to action for new areas of value in public relations and communication management

DRAFT FOR REVIEW AT WORLD PUBLIC RELATIONS FORUM

NOVEMBER 2012

The mandate of public relations is to build and sustain strong relationships, which cultivate mutual understanding and benefit between an organisation and its publics.

The Global Alliance’s 2010 Stockholm Accords affirmed the characteristics of the communicative organisation and the value of public relations and communications professionals in management, governance, sustainability, and internal and external communication.

Today, unprecedented public access to communication presents new challenges and opportunities for organisations – and for global society.  And this presents a new mandate for public relations and communication management: a set of roles, responsibilities and principles hereby endorsed by delegates to the 2012 World Public Relations Forum in Melbourne, Australia.

The new mandate

In building and sustaining relationships, public relations and communication professionals have a mandate to define and maintain an organisation’s character and values; to build a culture of listening and engagement; and to instill responsible behaviours by individuals and organisations. These three roles are both essential and interconnected: an organization must understand its own character and responsibility in order to have meaningful engagement with its stakeholders; and taken together, these roles form an essential contribution to organizational strategy, and to society.

Principles

 

Defining an organization’s character and values.

The communicative organisation has a clear sense of its core or ‘DNA,’ which consists of three strands:

  1. Values: the set of values the organization lives by and which guides its decisions and behaviour.
  2. Leadership: the responsibility of leaders to model the character and values of the organisation and beliefs on how it should operate, through decisions taken and the direction they set.
  3. Culture: the processes, structures, collective behaviour and ways of working that are part of organisational life. These things affect the way people and groups interact with each other internally and with external stakeholders.

Public relations and communication professionals have a mandate to:

  1. Shape organisational character by enhancing, maintaining and protecting the organisation’s authenticity – its reputation for consistently communicating truth and meriting trust.
  2. Be the guardians of the organisation’s character and values, providing feedback to the organisation on how this character is being judged and received, and communicating the character to stakeholders.
  3. Ensure organisational values guide decisions and actions internally, and that externally they are recognized and understood by stakeholders.
  4. Evaluate the organisation against those values by monitoring stakeholder views and discussions about the organisation.
  5. Help leaders best communicate those values to inspire stakeholders to follow, support, or change behaviour.
  6. Help leaders understand where they need to change, and ensure they are equipped to be effective communicators and to embrace communication responsibilities.
  7. Work with senior managers, human resource professionals and other management functions to ensure that structures, processes and ways of working reflect the claimed organisational character and values.
  8. Research and create initiatives that bring the culture to life, recommending the most appropriate communication channels, content and tone.

 

Building a culture of listening and engagement.

The communicative organization…

  1. Builds trust through respectful and enduring relationships with both internal and external stakeholders and the wider community.
  2. Pursues policies and practices based on internationally recognized standards for corporate responsibility, sustainability, reporting and transparency.
  3. Sees listening as a research-based process to identify both risks and opportunities, in which all internal and external stakeholders can play a role.

 

Public relations and communication professionals have a mandate to:

  1. Develop research methodologies to measure an organisation’s capacity to listen, and apply these metrics before and after the pursuit of strategy and during any major action.
  2. Identify all stakeholder groups affected by the pursuit of an organisation’s strategy, both now and in the future.
  3. Identify all stakeholder groups that affect the pursuit of the organisation’s strategy, both now and in the future.
  4. Identify these stakeholder groups’ expectations and consider them both in the organisation’s strategy and before taking any action.
  5. Ensure sound reasons are communicated to stakeholders in cases where their expectations cannot be met.
  6. Demonstrate continuously that the organisation is genuinely listening as it takes actions in pursuit of its strategy.

 

Instilling societal, organizational, individual and professional responsibility.

The communicative organization understands the responsibility flowing from two core principles:

  1. The organisation derives its licence to operate from the value it creates for all its stakeholders, which benefits society at large.
  2. The value of an organisation is linked directly to its reputation, which in turn is sustained by building trust, acting with integrity and being transparent about the organisation’s strategy, operations, use of capital and performance.

 

Public relations and communication professionals have a mandate to…

Demonstrate societal responsibility by influencing decisions and undertaking action that…

  1. Creating and maintaining transparent – open, honest and accessible – processes and credible communication that balance public interests with organisational needs.
  2. Supporting the sustainability strategies of the communities from which the organisation obtains resources and its licence to operate.
  3. Ensuring that communication on behalf of employers, clients and brands does not overstate the value of products and services, which would distort the expectations of consumers and other stakeholders.
  4. Defining accountability metrics against which contributions to society should be measured and improved.

 

Demonstrate organizational responsibility by influencing decisions and undertaking actions that:

  1. Providing strategic relationship and communication counsel to organisational leaders to ensure responsible decisions and actions.
  2. Seeking to align internal and external stakeholder interests, and organisational values with societal norms.
  3. Influencing and contributing to the organisation’s sustainability strategies.
  4. Reinforcing an organisational culture of improvement by engaging internal and external stakeholders in meaningful dialogue and positive change.
  5. Defining accountability metrics against which individual contributions to organisational performance should be measured and improved.

 

Demonstrate professional responsibility by:

  1. Researching, abiding by and operating in accordance with the relevant societal laws, rules, norms and policies, and the relevant professional codes of ethics.
  2. Communicating the professional standards that guide public relations and communication to internal and external stakeholders.
  3. Maintaining competence by continually pursuing education and learning so as to perform responsibly and effectively.
  4. Demonstrating business value by defining accountability metrics to evaluate and improve the contribution of relationships and communication strategies to the achievement of organisational goals.

 

And demonstrate personal responsibility by:

  1. Ensuring one’s personal communication is always consistent with the truth, and that one’s actions reflect the imperatives of doing good and creating mutual benefit over the long term.
  2. Recognizing and appreciating differences between one’s personal values and those of organizational stakeholders and communities, in line with societal expectations.
  3. Taking personal ownership of the professional standards by which day-to-day decisions and actions are governed.
  4. Being willing to make tough decisions – and understanding the consequences – when circumstances, society or the organisation create conditions that prevent or contradict one’s professional standards.
  5. Being accountable for one’s decisions and actions.

 

BE IT RESOLVED THAT

The 160,000 professionals represented in the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management strive to use the principles of the Melbourne Mandate to advocate, demonstrate and enhance the value of public relations and communication to their organisations and communities, and to global society.

 

 

APPENDIX:

THE INTEGRITY INDEX & TESTING VALUES

Values are the publicly declared ‘contract’ that an organisation has with its stakeholders on how it will fulfill its mission and purpose: a declaration of what principles guide its decisions-making and behaviour. Given that values are so closely tied to and indeed, define character, the extent to which an organisation lives up its values is a test of its authenticity and  integrity.

Values can be checked in one or both of two ways:

  1. Outside-in: Where existing discussions about an organisation are analysed, values ‘in use’ can be abstracted. For example, by using a social media partner, it would be possible to undertake analysis of a variety of stakeholders to identify the range of values that are attributed to an organisation and by whom. It would also be possible to build an overall picture. The same principle can apply to traditional media analysis and to other forms of conversation and feedback between an organisation and its stakeholders.
  2. Inside-out: Where the organisation asks stakeholders to rate their performance against declared values using the values spidergram.

 

The matching of these two perspectives brings enriched insights.

Please post your comments.

 

Posted in The Melbourne Mandate | 6 Comments

Working papers for public review and comment

Please find below the latest working papers from the three working groups.
These are working documents, thoughts and views are welcomed.

  1. Organisational Character Group: working paper (first draft)
  2. Listening Group: working paper (reviewed draft).
  3. Responsibility Group: working paper (first draft).
Posted in The Melbourne Mandate | 4 Comments

Working paper for Organisational Character Group

Please find attached the latest thinking from the Organisational Character Group: working paper (first draft). These are working documents, thoughts and views are welcomed.

Posted in Character, The Melbourne Mandate | 4 Comments

Working paper for Listening Group

Please find attached the latest thinking from the Listening Group: working paper (first draft). These are working documents, thoughts and views are welcomed.

Posted in Listening, The Melbourne Mandate | 14 Comments

Working paper for Responsibility Group

Please find attached the latest thinking from the Responsibility Group: working paper (first draft). These are working documents, thoughts and views are welcomed.

Posted in Responsibility, The Melbourne Mandate | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

From Noel Turnbull on Culture

I know we are aiming for 10 requirements but might I suggest a slightly different way to produce an outcome.

Essentially a culture of listening is predicated on dialogue which is the key characteristic of what our industry ought to be doing – encouraging dialogue between organisations and publics/stakeholders. Dialogue is only possible if there is some mutual basis for a meaningful discussion. Without knowledge and understanding speaking and listening is essentially a futile exercise. At the same time the practicalities – requirements, instruments, methods – of dialogue vary between markets, cultures and countries. Cultural relativity is a factor in how we operate.

In such a situation, rather than requirements, could we re-direct our focus towards a set of principles which can be operationalized in different ways depending on the organisations and the cultures in which they are followed. This is akin to differing regulatory approaches where one focuses on principles and the other on prescriptions with the latter prompting more and more prescriptions to cater for new eventualities.

To this end some principles on which a culture of listening could be built might be:

1. Creating an organisational and communication vision based on building trust through transparency and meaningful relationships with stakeholders and the wider community.
2. Implementing policies and principles of transparency based on internationally recognised standards for corporate social responsibility, sustainability, financial and governance reporting. (Some egs could be cited under each).
3. Implementing policies and structures which cultivate and maintain enduring stakeholder relationships.
4. Striving to align organisational values and strategies with the public’s interests.
5. Establishing evaluation methodologies which measure and monitor the quality and range of key stakeholder relationship characteristics such as trust, empathy, confidence (any others?)

Please note that points 3. And 5 are rough paraphrases of some of Craig Fleisher’s thinking on public affairs strategic planning models.

Not sure if there is any help but might prompt some further discussion.

Posted in Listening | 6 Comments

Defining Organisational character

Welcome to the discussion on organisational character. As co-chairs, Anne and I wanted to provide a short couple of paras to you around our ‘statement of intent’ for this Group to serve as a conversation starter.

Defining Organisational character

An organisation’s character, like those of people, is determined by the values it adopts and pro-actively lives by. No-one imposes these values, they are self-determined. The values an organisation lives and operates by shapes its culture, frames the interactions it has with all stakeholders and ultimately how it acts. As with a person, if an organisation does not live by the values it purports to, then stakeholders are entitled to question the authenticity of the organisation. Any gap that exists between how an organisation says it acts and how it actually acts, or put more simply the difference between stakeholder perception and the organisation reality, creates potential reputation risks and other issues. With the explosion of digital technology, the impact of social media and increasing pressure on organisational transparency, the magnifying glass has never been so acutely focused on organisations and how they operate. Reputational risk is public relations territory and this is why practitioners should be involved in helping determine and/or test the ‘character’ or rather the values that underpin the character of an organisation. Does the organisation truly lived by its values? Does it have the proof points to back this up? And, do the values they stack up against what stakeholders expect of the organisation?

In our working group we want to come up with a practical tool (possibly called an Integrity Index) that helps organisations to identify if and how they live up to their values. The tool can be used not only as a measure of integrity, but as a means for stimulating discussions and actions that address issues that affect the purpose, strategy and operations of organisations. We believe this will provide a significant and practical outcome from the Mandate discussions and help further move public relations up the strategic value chain.

Posted in Character | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

The Melbourne Mandate

Join a new conversation on changing organizations – and changing communication

In an age where the value of an organization lies increasingly in the value of its relationships and reputation, communication is becoming something that defines who you are rather than what you do.

How can this be explained and made real? How do communicators help CEOs define and lead these new organizations? How can communicators embed listening-based communication across the culture of the entire organization? How do they then articulate their roles within it?

Answering these questions will build on the work of  the Sixth World Public Relations Forum in 2010, where professionals from more than 30 countries contributed to and endorsed the Stockholm Accords defining the value contributed by public relations professionals to organizations and society.

But the world today is different from what it was only two years ago, as organizations and society struggle to adapt in an age when both internal and external publics have unprecedented communication access, influence and power.

Informed by the Stockholm Accords and a recent survey of its members around the world, the Global Alliance is now exploring an updated approach to the organizational and societal value that communicators can contribute as we prepare for our 2012 World Public Relations Forum in Melbourne, Australia.

We kindly invite you to submit comments on the opportunity, role and value of public relations and communication management in these areas:

1. Defining organizational character    

If reputation is an absolute measure of how others judge an organization, an authentic and aspirational effort to define its DNA or core character and ways of doing things might be the organization’s way of influencing the factors that build that reputation. 

How can communicators contribute to defining, maintaining, assessing and sustaining an organization’s DNA or core character?

2. Creating a culture of listening and engagement

The widespread use of digital networks makes communication a richer and yet riskier process than ever before. But today’s tools are only a means to an end: that of embedding a culture of listening and engagement not just in the communications department, but across the organization.

How can communicators develop and deploy this culture for the benefit of both the organization and its stakeholders?

3. Understanding personal, organizational and professional responsibility

Individuals, organizations and professions bear responsibilities to society – bringing ethical and sustainability considerations into the decisions and actions we undertake every day.

Where lies the nature of a communicator’s responsibility today? Which processes can ensure a coherent, yet sustainable, balance of the three spheres?

4. Any other important issues or areas.

Read the full abstract.

Leave a general comment.

Leave a comment on Character, Responsibility and Listening.

The site owner retains the right to remove any comment deemed to be offensive or not in line with a respectful debate on the subject of this page.
Posted in The Melbourne Mandate | 8 Comments