ComPRehension

Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
March 4, 2009

The Shark Is Down: Most Approval Processes Just Don’t Work Day-to-Day


When my sister, Lynn Wylie, met Richard Dreyfus on a cruise recently, she asked the actor-turned-Constitutional scholar what it was like to work with a mechanical shark. 

Almost every day, Dreyfus said, he’d arrive on the set of “Jaws” to hear this message over the intercom:

“The shark is down.

Ladies and gentlemen,

the shark is not working today.”

Can you imagine how frustrating it would be to show up day-in, day-out, ready to do the job you were hired to do, but not be able to get your work done because some system is broken?

Friends, I’ve got news for you. If you work in most organizations:

“The approval process is down.

Ladies and gentlemen,

the approval process is not working today.”

Nothing makes communications more frustrating than the approval process. It stalls production, garbles your copy and turns you from a professional communicator into a whining comma jockey.The bad news is, you don’t win the approval process war comma by comma. If you’re begging for authority to choose whether “that” or “which” is the right word to use, you’ve already lost.If you’d like to learn how to get the approval process up and running in your organization, please join me at PRSA’s March 18 teleseminar, “Develop An Approval Process That Doesn’t Drive You Nuts: How to Run the Approval Process So It Doesn’t Run You.”

You’ll learn to reduce the number of reviewers, some simple scripts to steal for managing the review system and some quick tricks you can use to improve approvals immediately.

Ann Wylie, president, Ann Wylie Communications

By Ann Wylie, president, Wylie Communications. Ann works with communicators who want to reach more readers and with organizations that want to get the word out. She travels from Hollywood to Helsinki, helping communicators at such organizations as NASA, AT&T and H&R Block polish their skills and find new inspiration for their work. As PRSA’s writing coach, she presents programs like “Writing That Sells — Products, Services and Ideas” in on-site sessions across the country. She is the author of more than a dozen learning tools, including Rev Up Readership.com, a toolbox for writers. In addition to writing and editing, Ann helps organizations launch or revitalize their Web sites and publications. Ann has served as a public relations professional in an agency, corporate communicator for Hallmark Cards, editor of an executive magazine and as a consultant in her own firm. Her work has earned more than 60 communication awards.

Join Ann for her teleseminars Writing for the Web 2.0” on July 23, 2009, “Anatomy of a News Release, Pitch and E-mailed Release” on Thursday, September 10, 2009, and her seminar, “Writing That Sells — Products, Ideas, and Services: Reach Reluctant Readers,” on Friday, August 28, 2009, in San Francisco, CA!

  • http://webbanshee@gmail.com WebBanshee

    True!I am working at an international company in IT.There you got ticket-systems and processes (example:Change Process) which require an approval.Do not count with it when you trigger your request that you can continue with your work imideatly.According SLAs (Service Level Agreements) you do not need to wait for it your whole life but the reality looks different.It comes back as follows:nothing happens, you write an email to the responsible person, you get back an Out Of Office notification.He/She is not in till the next three days.OK,on the other side the customer is yelling they need it straight away.Ok you do it on your own, it will get approved afterwards.No problem.But when there goes something wrong they will get back to you : ) Knowing this the rest is ok, i like my job.But back to the post,yes true,thats the way it goes.Just a little comment to the shout-out “the shark is down”, on my first workday at this company i was in 30 minutes when the alert came they found a bomb out of the second world war (they are building some offices next to us), like: The company does not bite today, the shark has lost it’s teeth.Next day i came in, they found a second bomb, bigger than the first.I was send home straight away.The whole machine was not working : ) It’s not the same as waiting for approlvals but sometimes it’s similar to a broken system.

    regards