(read a Question and Answer Session with Steve)
Steve Knight is an experienced journalist, editor and consultant who has been at the forefront of the internal communication sector for more than 20 years. He has edited the Institute of Internal Communications (IoIC) magazine in its various formats for the last decade and has trained hundreds of IC professionals. Two years ago he was one of the people responsible for creating and launching the IoIC Foundation Level accreditation programme, which is designed to raise standards throughout the industry. Last month (January 2011) the Institute followed up on the success of the Foundation Level to launch its Advanced Level accreditation programme. Both the Foundation and Advanced Level programmes are administered by Steve’s company, Knight Train & Consult Ltd.
Questions and Answers
What’s the most valuable lesson you have learned, and who do you have to thank for it?
To trust and be trusted. My first editor, Ray Jones, taught me the value of integrity and honesty when I was a 17-year-old reporter starting out straight from school on the Bexleyheath and Welling Observer. For the reporter/editor relationship to work, he had to totally trust me that I would tell him everything openly, honestly and truthfully and I had to totally trust his judgement as editor about what he would do with the information I gave him. Ray also taught me that there are lots of sides to every story and to fully explore all the facts before putting pen to paper.
If you could talk to your younger self, what advice would you give him?
Everyone makes mistakes. Don’t be afraid to make them; learn from them but don’t repeat them. The only people who never make mistakes are those who are too scared or too lazy to take life by the throat and live it.
What is the single thing you still most need to learn?
Patience with people who can’t or won’t make decisions, with those who don’t do what they say they are going to do and particularly with those who miss agreed deadlines.
What do you hope your legacy will be?
In a business sense that the Institute of Internal Communication accreditation programme is in future seen as the natural professional route for ALL internal communication practitioners. In a personal sense that my children and grandchildren will not only believe that they can change the world for the better but will actively try to do so.
What is the most surprising thing you’ve ever discovered about yourself?
That snorkelling is, after all, great fun.
What one thing do you think every organisation would most benefit from doing, or doing differently?
Being honest with their staff and treating them like grown-ups.
What is your worst habit?
Sounding off like a pompous old man – my children would describe it as “Dad going off on one again!”