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Internal Transactions:


Successful public relations, relationships
with the public, start inside your agency. First and foremost, the success of
your agency’s public relations rests on relationships, people interacting with
people. Think about a single transaction, one person interacting with another.
This elementary transaction is the smallest unit or building block from which
all public relations develop.


Your agency’s public relations program, then,
can be no stronger than the cumulative strength of the thousands and thousands
of transactions in which your staff participate over time. What’s more, you
should assume that the quality of your staff’s external transactions,
interactions with the public, is the same as you see in their internal
transactions, interactions with each other. Assume that they relate to the
public as well or as badly as they relate to their co-workers.


Below is a list of transaction elements you
can use to assess your agency’s internal, interpersonal environment. You do
this by rating your staff’s typical functioning on each of the ten elements.
Rate your staff “5” on the element if it is most always present in
your staff members’ transactions with each other. Use “4” for
usually, “3” for much of the time, “2” for sometimes, and
“1” for usually not. Staff:


1.   Are friendly and positive with each other.


2.   Listen
calmly and respectfully when others are talking.


3.   Are sensitive to and accepting of cultural,
ethnic, and lifestyle differences.


4.   Are where they are expected, when they are
expected.


5.   Are consistent and predictable, not on-again
off-again; do not run hot and cold.


6.   Are interested in each other’s issues and
concerns, problems and difficulties.


7.   Have a helpful and cooperative approach with
each other.


8.   Keep commitments and follow through with
agreements.


9.   Return phone calls, respond to messages, and
get back to others when asked.


10.  Treat each other as well as you expect them to
treat the public.


Now, add your ten ratings together and divide
by 10. This gives you an internal transaction score for your agency. The
foundation of your public relations program needs to be increasing the internal
transaction score, following the principle of continuous quality improvement.


     Here
is one effective strategy to increase your agency’s internal transaction score
over time. Monthly, randomly select 10% of your staff to do the above rating
for the agency. If your total staff is under fifty, select five staff members
each month to be the raters.


     Have the raters spend no more than ten minutes
doing the ratings and be sure they do not consult with each other while
completing the ratings. Simply have each rater complete a simple “Internal
Transaction Rating Form” you develop using the ten elements above.


     When the month’s forms are returned,
calculate the internal transaction score on each form by adding the ratings on
each item together and dividing by 10. Now, just total the internal transaction
scores from the forms. Suppose you have 30 forms. You total the 30 individual
internal transaction scores and then divide by 30. You divide by the number of
forms you actually have returned. The resulting internal transaction score for
the agency will be between 1.0 and 5.0 each month.


     Although the agency scores may go up and
down slightly from month to month, do not focus on the month to month
fluctuations. You are looking for a gradually increasing score over several
months and from year to year. Create a chart or graph so all staff can see how
the score is changing over time.


     Certainly, your management group will want
to develop specific training and other activities to improve the agency’s
internal transaction score. They will also want to consistently model the
desired behavior. Whether there are special activities or not, though, the
simple process of measuring and posting the agency’s internal transaction score
each month will lead to a gradual increase in that score over time, assuming
that managers and supervisors consistently model the wanted behavior.





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