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Any skydiver who has ever done anything more than a Tandem jump knows what a Cypres is. For the uninitiated, it’s an AAD. AAD (Not ADD, which I have, too) stands for Automatic Activation Device. You turn it on at the start of the day, and forget about it. It looks like this, when not in your rig:
It has one job: To constantly detect my speed and altitude, and if something should happen to me during my skydive (I get knocked out, or somehow lose consciousness or the ability to open my own parachute,) and it detects my speed is too high for the preset altitude (over 78 miles per hour at 1,250 feet above ground level,) it will launch my reserve parachute, and hopefully, save my life. Will I ever have to use it? I certainly hope not. But do I take a lot of comfort knowing it’s there, doing its job? Most definitely.
Why do I bring this up? Well, it occurs to me that we should have a Cypress monitoring our professional life, too – but we more often than not, we don’t.
Do you have a plan for dealing with a client crisis? I’m not talking about crisis management for the crisis specifically, but a crisis that the client brings to you – i.e., “We need to drop our retainer by half for the next six months, can you revise what you’re doing for us?”
As publicists, PR agencies, and people working for others, we should always have several Cypres’ working for us at any given time. One should constantly be monitoring the financial health of the agency – What happens if it detects a client loss? Can it shift and make sure we have others to compensate? Call it the Making our Nut Cypres.
One Cypres should constantly be monitoring what happens when new clients come on board – call it the Client Expectation Cypres. That Cypres should constantly be monitoring the mood of the new client – are we meeting their expectations on a daily basis? Are they happy? Are they going to come at us from left field with a “We don’t think this is working out” phone call?
Most definitely, a “Mental Health Cypres” should be monitoring employees and staff. Working to the bone? The Cypres should fire with a “day off to do something fun” every once in a while – Every employee should be monitored like this – It should spring with no warning – the “I know you’ve been working really hard. Let Jenny cover your accounts on Friday, and take a three-day weekend, on the company. Enjoy.” That’s the kind of Cypres that will build employee loyalty like you’ve never, ever seen.
See where I’m going with this? A little preparation in advance can avoid one hell of a messy “splat” later on.
A Cypres is a beautiful device. You turn it on when you get to the drop zone in the morning, and you forget about it. Well, in our industry, we should have a few of those, as well. They should always be running, and we should always take a little comfort in the fact that we turned them on. It doesn’t mean we should go around like idiots, blissfully unaware that the very hard ground is approaching at 120 miles per hour, but we should take some comfort in the fact that if, for some reason, we lose track of our altitude, we might have a chance of surviving.
Yet again, PR is a lot like Skydiving.