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US. Pic by Ansgar Baums

Defining GR capabilities

Every GR organization faces the task of defining which capabilities are needed where. We found that most GR teams struggle with this, mostly because concepts like “stakeholder management” or “policy monitoring” are too abstract to allow a detailed resource planning and internal alignment. Allocating headcounts and budgets might look random if you do not have a methodology in place that allows you to define the needs first.

How much GR do you need?

So what is a “GR need”? We suggest to approach this problem very pragmatically: Start listing the stuff that you want to be able to do as precisely as possible. You might call this a “micro-scenario” approach. Here are a couple of examples of capability goals:

  1. Monitoring capabilities: We will be able to monitor all legislative matters of relevance both on the national and the state level — aiming at “zero surprises” in our priority policy fields.
  2. Policy response: We will be able to respond to specific government requests (like a questionnaire) on our top priority topic x (e.g. cybersecurity certification, emission standards) within seven days. All participating functions are able to designate sufficient resources to such a response exercise, GR has resources to project-manage it.
  3. Digital public affairs: We will be able to get involved in social media discussions of political influencers about our products. GR has the authority to speak on behalf of the company, GR managers will receive support on content creation by Marketing and Comms, aiming at one thought leadership piece per month.
  4. Association engagement: We will be able to proactively drive working groups x and y in our association z. GR will have sufficient resources to engage in the working group steering group, and will receive support from internal subject-matter experts to draft policy positions.
  5. Firefighting — crisis engagements: We will be able to respond rapidly to emerging brand reputation or compliance crises in cooperation with PR and Marketing; mobilizing a network of external consultants on short notice.
  6. Etc.

Such goals could then be mapped on different functions in a simple matrix:

Defining priority countries

Such an approach would also allow for a more precise definition what a “priority country” actually means for you. We have argued before that a description of “service level agreements” — i.e. what can a sales organization expect from a GR function in market x? — is key to a successful internal stakeholder management. Taking the matrix above as a starting point, it might look like this:

Happy planning!

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