Earlier this year I was working with a Head of Communications in a government agency that has undergone significant structural transformation and operational change over the past two years.
She was working on deepening the engagement between leaders and employees in different areas and had asked for some advice on how to ensure communication was flowing two ways. I asked, “What business as usual channels do you rely on today?”
“We don’t use the term BAU any longer. Transformation is going to continue. Change is business as usual and we now adopt a continuous improvement approach” she said.
It was a moment of absolute clarity for me. How many of us think of ‘BAU’ communication as distinct from the projects and initiatives that come through the door, or into the inbox.
BAU is dead. What now?
As part of the IC Kollectif IC In 2017 Project, I had some thoughts at the start of the year about how communicators can work with other areas to learn, innovate and adapt. But this realisation, half way through the year, made me consider what communicators can do in times of perpetual change, not just to service their organisations, but to ready themselves for ‘no more BAU’.
Read my full response on the IC Kollectif IC In 2017 Project.
- Strength in shared practices. Continue to talk about what works, not just with other communicators, but across disciplines. Ask the questions like “why did this work in this environment?” But don’t just ask communicators. Ask marketers, change managers, leaders and innovators.
- Invest in development. Don’t wait for your company to value you. Skill up, both communication skills and non-traditional skills: design thinking, user experience and business acumen.
- Change what you can. Look for the opportunities to add the value that our profession can deliver. Be brave.
- “It’s not me, it’s you.” Know when to stop pushing the rock uphill. There are amazing organisations that foster and grow innovation. If yours is not one of them, find one that is.
- Keep the faith. As a communicator, a great day at the office or in the field is a humbling thing. Bank those experiences as a reminder of why great internal communication matters.
What does a great day in the office or the field look like?
When did your communication activity lead to an outcome that furthered the organisation, the employees and the leaders? Creating connection, improving performance, perhaps just a moment of insight quoted back to you. Share what your ‘great day in the office’ looks like below.
IC Kollectif has launched a unique addition to the internal communication canon. The ebook, Disrupting the Function of IC, A Global Perspective featuring contributions from 30 global internal communication leaders.
What is impressive is the degree to which editor Lise Michaud has facilitated diversity in the conversation about practice. This is truly a global communication guide. With voluntary contributors from every region, the guide has captured the differences in the current state of how practitioners need to respond to their organisations.
Diversity brings difference, and a particularly exciting aspect of the project is the range of different opinions. There are few places (outside Twitter) where there is such representation of views and practices that span all the IC practitioner tribes; IABC, Global Alliance, CIPR amongst others.
There are divergent views on how to approach the ongoing symbiosis between IC and technology, on engagement, on the most important skills and the biggest challenges. Communication and communications.
Some of the common themes include:
- Change is constant, so skills and experiences in responding to changing environments continues to be essential for the communicators.
- Technology has been and will continue to be a factor for communication practice.
- The need for the profession to hold the line in terms of ethical practice, dialogue and creating accountability.
- Liam Fitzpatrick’s key takeaway stands out for me as the common sense that is far from common – stop looking for ‘the next big thing’ and focus on the outcomes.
I feel privileged to be in the same company as the other contributors and applaud all the authors for bringing current and new thinking to one place.
Let the conversations begin!
The 222 page ebook can be downloaded from IC Kollectif (free subscription required for download).
Internal Communication blog and movement IC Kollectif closed out 2016 by asking a number of experts around the world the following question:
What would be your greatest hope for the internal communication profession for the year 2017?
This year, I have had the fortune to work with some excellent communication practitioners. Through IABC and CEB I have also met IC leaders from a range of industries. Common to many of the conversations have been two opposing ideas: we need to manage new challenges facing the world of work, and we still need to improve our core practice.
I thought about how the past year has presented new challenges for communication.
Life in organisations requires us to continue to adapt. At the intersection of the technological, social, and geopolitical shifts of 2016 is a revolution in work. The World Economic Forum describe this as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In the face of these factors, how do communicators look forward, when so much time is spent in the trenches where the battles of value creation, tactical execution, and the push for strategic influence are fought.
My hope for our profession in 2017 is that we develop our practices in ways that contribute: creating connections, cutting through complexity, and growing empathy.
The breadth of responses from communicators including Shel Holtz, Claire Watson, Jim Shaffer, Liam Fitzpatrick and Rachel Miller provides an optimistic take on how we tackle the big picture and the detail of our practice in the new year.
Read my full response, along with 25 others at ICKollectif.com