Keeping Communications Real is a Long Game
The following is part of our most recent publication released online, "IC in 2017 & 2018 FROM HOPE TO REALITY How Far We've Come | The Road Ahead." Looking back at their greatest hope for the IC profession in 2017 in terms of where the discipline should be, 21 communication professionals from different countries answer two questions: How far have we actually come in 2017? What remains to be done in 2018?
Rita Zonius, Director of The Enterprise Social Engineer, shares her views on the progress made these past months, to what extent she believes her hope has translated into reality, and what remains to be done in 2018. To read the views of all contributors, download the free 42-page eBook here.
The unfettered flow of information powered by new technologies and social media continues to challenge the way we do our jobs. With the demand for timely and authentic communication on the rise, in the year ahead I’d love to see internal communicators put more energy into keeping communication real. This means shifting our focus from the traditional role we inhabited as communication gatekeepers for our leaders, to instead coaching them to be their genuine selves through engaging communication and conversation. This includes helping leaders understand that being social is not an optional extra today or something to be delegated to internal communication, but a critical general management skill.
How far we've come. Next steps.
Putting greater energy into keeping communication real continues to be an ongoing challenge for internal communicators. Changing work habits takes time and while IC people may be prepared to take on a more significant role coaching leaders to manage their own communication, we must remember we are playing a long game. Company culture, systems and processes shape how we work and unless organisations are prepared to make changes to these foundations to enable more authentic communications to flow, many IC people will, I’m afraid, continue to capitulate to leaders who are simply not interested in working in a more social way. I’m not trying to paint a totally grim picture here. For every challenging leader we deal with, further down in our organisations we see the lightbulbs go off as more of our people discover that a social way of working is enabling them to get real work done, faster. Now that the social genie is out of the bottle, there’s no going back to old ways of working for them and that’s truly exciting.
Organisations that commit to a more social way of working, including leaders who role model those behaviours, will provide the right environment for IC people to put more energy into keeping communications real. The caveat, of course, is communicators must still be willing to make the shift from being communication gatekeepers to teaching others how to manage their own communication. The bottom line is IC people have some decisions to make about how they want to work in the future. Do we want to work in companies that are embracing social technologies? Are we happy to continue managing communication for disinterested leaders? Do we want to be the brave supporters of social ways of working in companies with closed cultures? Personally, I think the best IC people will seek out roles in organisations that are embracing social already or at organisations curious about becoming social.
Click here to download the free 42-page eBook "IC in 2017 & 2018 FROM HOPE TO REALITY How Far We've Come | The Road Ahead."
Director of The Enterprise Social Engineer