Death by 1,000 communications

I’ve noticed a recent trend for internal communications teams to publish articles, videos and messages asking for less communications. Aside from irony of these efforts’ methods, which we can leave until another day, this raises an interesting question: do we really have too much communication?

The truth is that the vast majority of the communications come from projects, programmes and other change initiatives. The intranet page, diary and inbox of the average employee has become a battle ground of voices trying to be heard. Stories, analogies and familiar journo speak are used to try to get noticed.

The outcome is either indifference or change overload. Communication is a key tool of the change agent but is often increasing resistance. How could we have let that happen?

The cause stems from the tieing together of a number of roles with the assumption that they are equivalent, or at least similar enough that one can swap between the jobs. Communications, Human Resource Management and Change Management are distinct roles in a change project. They complement each other, but are not the same.

There is no such role as a change and communications manager. They are different talents, different skills. Badge a comms specialist as a Change Manager and you will see them reach for their most reliable tool.

This isn’t because comms is ineffective. Far from it. For raising awareness it’s fantastic. It’s cost effective at gaining the right level of buy in for those that aren’t effected greatly. But for those with strong reasons to object to change its like a traffic cop trying to control a busy intersection through interpretive dance.

Are you working on a project that keeps hammering the comms button? There is a better way:

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