This blog is about the relationship between organizations and the people who work for them. And, it’s dedicated to the millions of people around the world who go to work every day wanting to do a great job.
Archive for August, 2010
Recently, I spoke about Gary Hamel‚Äôs call to reinvent management.¬† In the webcast I refer to there, Gary talks about a global study of 90,000 employees around the world that was conducted by Towers Perrin and that showed that less than 20% of employees are engaged.¬† And, I think this IABC News headline may tell us why.¬† Or at least part of the why.
It seems that even though we keep saying communications isn‚Äôt about pushing messages, we continue to rely heavily on push technology and message sending.
In the world Gary describes.¬† A world where ‚Äúobedience, diligence and intellect‚ÄĚ aren‚Äôt enough to create a competitive advantage, organizations need employees to bring ‚Äúinitiative, creativity and compassion‚ÄĚ to their work.¬† And, that isn‚Äôt going to happen because of e-mails and intranet.
How are we creating inspiring places to work? Places where people want to bring more of themselves.
OK it‚Äôs late summer and I‚Äôm dreaming and I thought you might like to dream along with me.
Imagine you‚Äôve been asked to help create a Corporate Internal Communications approach starting from nothing.¬† Let‚Äôs imagine this is a service business that has grown by acquisition.¬† It‚Äôs in a highly competitive market about to launch a new business model.¬† Cross-functional and cross-business collaboration will be critical.
The individual business units have relatively well developed Internal Communications.¬† But, until now global communications have been limited to the odd e-mail and quarterly conference calls.¬† There‚Äôs no global intranet.¬† There‚Äôs no global newsletter.¬† There‚Äôs no global employee survey.¬† There‚Äôs pretty much nothing at the global level ‚Äď no systems, processes, tools or tactics.
You‚Äôve got carte blanche.¬† What‚Äôs in and what‚Äôs out? I‚Äôd love to hear from you.
Update [August 20, 2010]:¬† Thanks to the gang at CommScrum LinkedIn for your great contribution to this question.
It has food.¬† It has wine.¬† It has crazy characters.¬† It has drama.¬† So it had to happen.¬† Michael and I are now completely addicted to the original ‚ÄúRamsay‚Äôs Kitchen Nightmares‚ÄĚ.¬† We stopped watching television months ago.¬† Now we‚Äôre watching streaming video online.¬† And thanks to The Food Network we‚Äôre hooked on Chef Gordon Ramsay‚Äôs show.
Who knew how complicated running a restaurant could be?
And who knew that beside the food [Ramsay‚Äôs an advocate for fresh local ingredients and simple plates ‚Äď a higher purpose for the customer], communication seems to be the most important ingredient for success.¬† And, perhaps surprisingly, I don‚Äôt mean marketing communication or PR.¬† I mean internal communication.
We‚Äôve now watched about 8 episodes.¬† And with one exception ‚Äď a brigade of experienced French chefs and service staff from Michelin starred restaurants who clearly knew what they were doing ‚Äď the mantra of every show has been ‚ÄėCommunicate!‚ÄĚ
Ramsay‚Äôs challenge;¬† get communication going between:
Once you get past his foul language, the man is masterful.¬† He starts by raising their awareness of, and gets them focused on, the customer experience.¬† A reality check.
Then, he facilitates often profound change ‚Äď he encourages, he cajoles, he demonstrates, he brings new and sometimes jarring perspective and insight, he‚Äôs rational, he‚Äôs emotional and slowly but surely most teams get it.
No crafting of messages.¬† No pushing them out.¬† He just gets them speaking to each other.¬† He helps them get the right conversations/communications going in the right way and at the right time to ensure the best customer experience. Remarkably completely dysfunctional teams start working well together and end up delivering outstanding experience for their customer and each other.
So, should we be spending more time as facilitator and less time as message pushers?¬† I’d love to hear what you think?
In my last post I spoke about Gary Hamel‚Äôs call to reinvent management.¬† In the webcast I refer to there, Hamel talks about a global study of 90,000 employees around the world that was conducted by Towers Perrin and that showed that less than 20% of employees are engaged.¬† I think this IABC News headline, above, may tell us why.¬† Or at least part of the why.
We talk about communications as being more than crafting and sending messages.¬† And yet, this new survey just released by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Research Foundation and Buck Consultants makes it¬† clear,¬† We still rely heavily on push technology and message sending.
And, in case we needed more evidence, the IABC article goes on to say that ‚Äú32 percent of survey respondents indicate that their organizations rarely or never conduct employee listening activities‚ÄĚ.¬† Oh dear.
In the world Hamel describes.¬† A world where “obedience, diligence and intellect aren‚Äôt enough to create a competitive advantage, any more, organizations need employees to bring initiative, creativity and compassion to their work.”¬† And, that “isn‚Äôt going to happen if¬† we command it.”¬† It isn’t going to happen because of e-mails and intranet.¬† It isn’t going to happen if we aren’t listening.¬† Oh dear, what can the matter be?
What do we need to do to create inspiring work places? Places where people want to bring more of themselves.
Is it possible?¬† Is there a role for communications in creating inspiring places to work?¬† If so, what is it?¬† How do you see it?
Something to read and think about
Bill Jensen, Work 2.0:¬† Rewriting the contract, Perseus Publishing, Cambridge, 2002
Another wake up call.
I just tuned in to Gary Hamel‚Äôs recent webinar [ironically – given the closing line to last week’s post – called]: Lighting the Fires of Management Innovation. In it he describes how Management innovation was once the source of significant competitive advantage.¬† But, most management innovation took place in the very late 19th and very early 20th century.
So, if we are going to effectively tackle the urgent challenges of today, we need a fundamental reinvention of underlying management principles and practices.¬† And, we need to create this ‚Äėmanagement advantage‚Äô at a time when the pace of change ‚Äď political, economic, social, and technological ‚Äď is increasing.
How?¬† Well according to Hamel it will take courage.¬† The courage to:
- Take on big and noble problems
- Question dogma
- Learn from positive deviance [he refers specifically to the ethos of the web and the values that he believes must infiltrate management]
- Start small ‚Äď we need to be able to be both revolutionary and evolutionary at the same time.
[echos of Grassroots thinking]
Innovation in communication – the communications function and the communications themselves – will be absolutely fundamental to the reinvention of management.
As communicators it‚Äôs sometimes easy to be a little complacent around the idea of communication innovation.¬† After all the past decade has brought significant and important innovation to how we do communications.¬† The number and kinds of navigation tools, distribution channels, communication tools and tactics that are available grows exponentially.
But the kind of innovation that Hamel is calling for asks us to fundamentally rethink what we do.¬† Are we taking on or encouraging our organizations to take on big and noble ideas?¬† Do we question dogma ‚Äď ours and others?¬† Are we learning from positive deviance?¬† Do we start small or are we caught up in one system wide campaign after another?
Are we ready to take this challenge on? As a profession?¬† As executives and managers? As advisors to leadership?¬† As employees and as voices for employees and other key stakeholders?
I’d love to hear what you think.¬† [the conversation continues]
 You need to be registered on the Management Innovation Exchange to access it, but it‚Äôs well worth it.