Lynn Miyahira is vice president of public affairs at iQ 360.
Regardless of whether it has a formal public affairs function, every successful business applies the principles of public affairs. Business leaders actively seek to develop a keen understanding of the thoughts and behaviors of customers, partners, suppliers, investors, community members and policy makers, along with the dynamic interplay within and among those groups. And they rely on that understanding as they formulate strategies to mitigate risk while advancing the business toward its goals.
“Regardless of whether it has a formal public affairs function, every successful business applies the principles of public affairs.”
This wide-angle approach describes what we like to call 360-degree intelligence, and it’s fundamental to our practice of public affairs. Whether advising government officials or corporate interests, we rely heavily on our understanding of the forces within and around the organization – economic, competitive, social, environmental, political, regulatory – to lend perspective that enables our clients to anticipate changes and “see around corners.”
A gazelle’s sense of opportunity or danger is magnified not just by the presence of other gazelle, but also by the warnings of birds and other species in its environment that are attuned to the presence of water or the movements of predators.
In the same way, the value of business perspective is directly proportional to the diversity of the people bringing it. Sometimes people hear the word “diversity” and dismiss it as a social or political matter. They’re not only missing the point – they’re proving it. To do their jobs effectively, public affairs teams must pool the complementary perspectives that come from a wide range of professional, educational and cultural experiences. A team that not only looks diverse, but whose members have lived in different parts of the world, have earned advanced degrees in law, architecture, business and the social sciences, and have struggled with a wide range of human challenges simply provides more valuable insight to its clients than one whose members’ experiences are more uniform.
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