Life After PR Series – “Nathan,” Part 5 — How did Nathan’s career transition from a head of Corporate Communications to a broader management and marketing role? What talents are required to make that transition?

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judith cushman associates human resources consulting life after public relations prAnswer: It seemed so natural for Nathan to succeed but what made him exceptional? He had an impressive capacity for embracing and managing change.
Nathan described what he found fascinating about the transportation industry. He said the industry is in flux with new technologies, new branding opportunities and regulatory issues. He knows that to be relevant he must be constantly learning about the product category, societal values, mobility, safety issues and more. He also sees that the industry itself is in transition as the consumer selects when and what means of transportation to use.
That viewpoint tells us that he is flexible and responsive to developing strategies appropriate for a complex business environment. He enjoys the process of reinvention. He is able to incorporate his insights into competitive messaging campaigns across the organization.

His career in Corporate Communications broadened to a Global Marketing Communications role about 10-years ago. He was successful in implementing his early vision, uniting both the internal and external aspects of corporate and marketing communications under one leader. While a theoretical case can be made for the value of merging the functions, it takes an executive with the expertise and management ability to assume such a broad role and bring about the synergy that Nathan knew was possible.

With the right leader in place, that transition occurs seamlessly, and no one questions the decision. That is what Nathan accomplished. The truth is, if a leader cannot implement an integrated plan, the leadership will abandon the experiment and revert to a model they understand. There is no second chance to get it right. It takes an exceptional, smart leader, with excellent instincts to succeed. That is in addition to the ability to lead and manage a team.

His career track showed a natural progression as he took on broader roles with 3 global companies. At that point he was qualified to assume a worldwide senior communications leadership role. He didn’t take that step.

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