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AUTUMN IS COMING: A view from Reykjavik

BY Mike Klein

PR legend Stephen Waddington put it succinctly in his latest blog when he said “the next four months are likely to be as chaotic as the previous eight.”

I say “succinctly” in that while I agree with him about the Autumn to come, I also am fully respectful of the tumult, disruption, dislocation and opportunity that has already arisen this year. Still, I recognize that the US Elections, final-stage Brexit negotiations, hurricanes, tropical storms, the potential for cancellation of highly anticipated sports seasons and a much-anticipated spate of M&A activity can produce their own brands of mighty havoc.

It’s been one hell of a ride so far. In my world, COVID-19 did what I thought would be impossible at this stage of my life - create the circumstances where “I could work from anywhere.” At the same time, it also created the circumstances where that “anywhere” would end up being my wife’s home town of Reykjavik, Iceland.

Reykjavik is indeed a bit of a “physically distant” place - with a metro population around 200,000, and where the nearest capital city is Dublin, Ireland - 1400 km/900mi away.

In today’s world, there are a number of things that can give physical proximity a run for its money.  Having cultivated a substantial, global professional network over the last years, the time has come for me to combine a practice built around customized strategy, research and content with a commitment to connect my peers with people and firms which I believe offer exceptional support and insights for their 2020-and-beyond situations.

I’m delighted to be working with Smarp, a leading internal communication technology vendor; Corporate Diplomat, a specialist communication consultancy with strong ambitions in the M&A space; Mirror Mirror, which has some excellent software and processes for addressing enterprise and team alignment issues, Open, an enlightened internal communication agency with deep insights into the digital and physical spaces, and Reputation Inc, one of Europe’s leading reputation and communication strategy firms.

I’ll also continue blogging and writing - about internal communication and the overall scene, and about what it’s like to land in Reykjavik as a Chicago boy who has lived in five other European countries. Perhaps, more interestingly, about what the world’s comms folk can learn from a country that, with 350,000 people, is at the same kind of size as a top global corporation - and has a very advanced way of integrating internal and external communication.

For now, I am happy to be here - thanks in no small part to my ability to connect and communicate with my friends, peers, colleagues and fellow combatants around the world.  Things are cool, pleasant, well organized and as safe here as anywhere on the planet.  The people have been nothing but lovely so far, and it’s quite convenient to be situated between North America and Western Europe when it comes to work day overlap and humanely organizing Zoom calls.

While there are times when I’d prefer to be somewhere where the drinks are colder than the beach, I know there are no barriers here for me to make a difference and continue to have an impact in the worlds of internal and strategic communication.

More to come.

Mike Klein

Internal communications pro with a bent towards increasing impact while reducing noise and friction. Former US political consultant, London Business School MBA. Tribal loyalties include IABC, EACD, Tottenham Hotspur FC and the Wisconsin Badgers.

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