No other department in the company is so dependent on other people for its success. Communicators can only do what other people let us do. Our town hall meetings don’t happen unless senior managers agree to do them; we can’t write an in-depth story about the new acquisition until legal signs off on it (and by the time they’re through with it, we’d just as soon not run it); we can’t educate employees about the company’s financials without the help of the accountants—and the permission of senior management.
This reliance on other forces in the company can be a little frustrating, because it’s all one way: You don’t see accountants asking our permission to re-create the general accounting system; senior managers never ask us if we should merge with another company; marketing managers don’t run their campaigns by us for approval; and the next time legal drops by our office for advice will be the first time.
What happens a lot of the time is that this dependence on others wears even the best communicators down. They beat their heads against the corporate wall for a while, and then eventually decide that it’s not worth it.