As the World Protocol Magazine Editorial Board, we take enormous pride in keeping this platform open to all experts from the numerous fields of business and protocol: Wilfredo Pérez Ruiz, from Peru is the first of many who have taken the opportunity of working together with WPM.
Mr Ruiz studied Business Administration at the Peruvian Institute of Business Administration and Administration and Management in International at the Columbia Educational Corporation, specalising in Political Science at the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega University and Protocol and Event Organization at the Frieda Holler Institute and at the Diplomatic Academy of Peru.
He is now professional in organization of events, corporate communication, protocol and social etiquette, member of the World Protocol Organisation and the Latin American Ceremonial Organization. He is the Director of the Peru-division at the Latin American Network of Event Organizers. Furthermore, he is a teacher at the San Ignacio de Loyola Institute, the ELA Secretariat Institute, the Mónica Chacón School of Modeling and Integral Image and The Style Institute. In this particular article, he explaines the meaning and importance of corporate protocol in the 21st centruy.
The Royal Academy of the Spanish Language defines “protocol”, in one of its meanings, as a “set of rules established by standard or custom for ceremonies and official or solemn acts”. That is, it describes guidelines and procedures to carry out an action in a certain situation. It differs from legal principles because its wrong use avoids contravening a legal and punishable duty.
According to María Teresa Otero Alvarado in her well-founded publication “The history of the protocol” (2015) “despite the great breadth of the spectrum of interpretations that society makes of the term protocol, practically all the definitions focus on its procedural nature, which it makes him refer to the way things develop”.
Later, she adds: “Once the etymology of the term protocol has been analyzed, and before delving into what different authors have said about it, it must be borne in mind that it was not until the end of the 19th century that the word protocol began to appear in the texts with an approximate meaning to that of today, although there are abundant historical and bibliographic documents that give testimony of the ceremonies and the ceremonial existing in the most different cultures, as well as of the existing etiquette in the different courts ”.
Within this context, the “corporate protocol” involves provisions and techniques to plan, prepare, develop and control institutional acts; prescribes the valid guidelines for its execution; includes communication criteria; makes it easier to understand and internalize the culture of the organization; includes rules of social etiquette and courtesy in visits, celebrations, negotiations, signing agreements, etc .; serves as a necessary support for any activity. In short, it provides a plus called “quality” and, especially, it is an essential component for a company that does not want to be isolated and lacks reciprocity.
Its convenient use makes it possible to spread the image through public appearances; achieves customer satisfaction; optimizes links and internal climate and benefits integration; strengthens the interpersonal relationship; generates efficiency in processes; promotes a feeling of loyalty; communicate messages effectively; establishes effective organizational parameters; contributes to the construction of a favorable and sustainable appreciation.
The “corporate protocol” has unquestionable value in daily proceedings: it does not require specific events to appreciate its immense connotation. With particular emphasis it shines in the events of the entities: there its vast splendor is evident. As we know, these incidents require invitations, a meticulous screening process, welcoming guests, setting locations and precedents, setting up the main table, writing the program, presentations, speeches, awards, installation of national symbols, among countless details.
In the same way, it acquires originality in business meetings. In these circumstances, categorical details must be considered in the perception of others and in the success of the negotiation. Here are some simple recommendations: arrive on time, carry professional cards, look impeccable personal appearance, greet with affability, maintain eye contact, show attention, show favorable disposition, exhibit an assertive attitude and thank the meeting.
Another point refers to the explicit ability of the employee to direct their performance in accordance with the “corporate protocol”. It is impossible to assume a positive procedure in the external sphere when they evade characterizing their congruent development in daily life. This unfortunate contradiction often happens that, at some point, will be exposed and will undermine the image of the organization.
However, its use must reflect an expertise in all times and settings. That is, I am referring to such elementary matters as greeting, answering requests by phone or through social networks, resolving complaints, providing excellent customer service, acting with transparency and ethics, promoting a healthy and cohesive atmosphere, treating employees fairly and avoiding Discriminations are just several of the countless revealing peculiarities of organizational culture and, consequently, of the emblematic “corporate protocol”.
A substantial instrument to guide its practice is the “Corporate Protocol Manual” that specifies, collecting notions of social etiquette, how to develop a “business culture” incorporating principles of education, protocol, ceremonial, communication and human relations. It is essential to conceive it with a simple, explainable, accessible and adaptable inspiration to changing situations. I recommend implementing a staff induction process and constantly monitoring to detect gaps and make corrections. Their knowledge is necessary in all spheres of the company.
The “Corporate Protocol Manual” will contain, among other multiple components, the organization chart, the presidency and the precedence according to each act; visual signs and indications about their use; principles of the mixed protocol, when the activity includes representatives of the public sector; criteria for receiving and accompanying visits, proposing how they should be deployed and who participates; codes of behavior, dress and treatments; premises on the preparation of communications and for telephone attention.
Do not hesitate to include matters related to ethics, transparency, access to information and institutional values.
They are of importance at a time when these concepts, with increasing emphasis, have been claiming an inestimable role and have an essential influence in generating trust in the business world and in its interaction with society. Therefore, it must contain an unavoidable and genuine “ethical” vocation.
In my opinion, it is pertinent to compromise aspects related to the selection of personnel in order to guide the evaluation based on the regulations of the company. Thus, the compatibility of the applicant’s profile with the general framework required in the recruitment of workers can be defined. The casuistry allows me to assert that sometimes the incorporated expert avoids gathering the “identikit” demanded by the “corporate protocol”. The presence of a collaborator unrelated to these imperative demands could be detrimental to the work atmosphere. In this regard, the impeccable choice of human resources is transcendental.
Let me reiterate: its significance will have a transversal impact on all instances, helping to guarantee a prodigious internal performance and improving reputation on the external scene. We are reluctant to admit it as a formality alien to business priorities and strategies. It is convenient to understand its scope integrated into the vision, mission and institutional policies.
Finally, I make my own the thoughtful expressions of Professor Juan de Dios Orozco, contained in his well-versed article “The importance of developing a protocol in the business world” (2015): “From the exclusionary protocol of the past we have moved to an integrating protocol and facilitator of success in the present because it has become a communication tool that contributes to the success of human relationships and that definitely affects the public image of people, institutions and companies ”.