Your hope is my nightmare: which way for business communication?
Two of my favorite people in the internal comms world are Lise Michaud and Stephen Welch.
Liseâ€”I have massive appreciation for her launch of IC Kollectif, the emerging Center of Excellence in the internal communication field, and I eagerly await the often-outstanding content that comes from â€œICKâ€™sâ€ various channels.
For the holiday season, Lise asked the question of â€œWhat is your greatest hope for the Internal Comms profession in 2017â€ to a variety of IC pros and thought leaders.Â Stephen, whose answer appeared this morning, is a fellow North American-turned-Brit who shares my passion for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, so I am generally inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.Â But reading this sentence in his answer after my morning Starbucks, I had to strap on the gloves:
â€œInternal Communication professionals should become more coaches and strategic advisers to senior management, not people who actually â€œdoâ€ communication. Every time an internal communications person actually â€˜doesâ€™ a communication, a leader somewhere is not doing his or her jobâ€
I get this may be Stephenâ€™s hope.Â Indeed, I have been hearing this complaint/advice since my time starting in IC in the late â€˜90s.Â I reject it â€“ and actually find it nightmarish - Â for two main reasons:
We often have better and clearer vision of the big picture and what resonates about it than do many of the people we work for, and generally a better way of articulating it than they can.
We should not despise our own skills and talents: as communicators our strategic, empathetic and craft skills are all interconnected, and are reflected in the â€œcommunications we â€˜doâ€™â€.Â We should not tie one or both of our arms behind our backs as a matter of principle, or withhold helpful contributions to make some kind of point.
Indeed, while some think that leaders taking full ownership of communication delivery is some kind of a dream outcome, I prefer to dream of a more dynamic relationship between leader and communicatorâ€”one of dialogue and discussion which empowers communication professionals to deliver the most resonant, best-targeted and highest impact communications we can deliver.