Your employee’s new world

This fairly simple graphic from the Corporate Executive Board — in their usual, elegant style — says it all. This is the big change that has occurred to everyone working in organizations: matrixed relationships.

Multiple accountabilities, multiple influencers . . . and the task of integrating it all falls to the employee as it never has before.

The implications of this shift for corporate communications are enormous.  You can no longer assume that the voice of senior leadership is the most important voice to hear.  Now senior leaders have to earn their credibility, not only through knowledge and relevance but also through acumen of how employees hear, learn, grow and act.  For executives formed in the old environment, operating in the new environment is not intuitive.

How would you support a leader to be effective in this new world?  You’d have to start by pointing to those new levers of influence that they can uniquely wield — authority, authenticity, clarity — and then consider how to deliver their particular insights in smaller and more surprising ways.

Is your leadership — are you — ready to do this?

Image from “The communicator’s new reality: Building an agile organization”
© 2012 The Corporate Executive Board Company.  All Rights Reserved.

Your memo did not change my life—sorry

We’re hopeful creatures.  We want people to think and behave rationally, and to respond well to facts and rational arguments.  In business, we just know that if we explain things well enough, everyone will a) understand, b) agree, c) feel enthused and d) take a new course of action.

Never mind that this is contrary to our own experience.  Research continues to show that the place inside us that weighs attitude changes is much nearer the heart than the head.  And the kinds of evidence that we admit — or the kind of person who delivers it — don’t capture our attention just because they seem rational.

Marketers, who place high value on word-of-mouth and third-party validation, know this.  But somehow this recognition hasn’t jumped over into organizational communications that assume that Facts Delivered By The CEO are the key to behavior change.

This article from the New York Times Magazine last Sunday leads with the topic of moral beliefs and the phenomenon of political flip-flopping, but you’ll see the relevance to how businesses might better achieve a), b), c) and d) above.  There’s probably a comms plan in your email that shows the messages and vehicles and delivery dates and audiences for an upcoming announcement or campaign, but where is the column in the plan that weights the potential effectiveness of each tactic?  That memo you’re editing may be efficient, but it may also be useless.

How can you plan to really communicate with employees in ways that matter to them and to your bottom line?

Teen attitudes toward social media: some surprises

There’s a new study out from Common Sense Media about attitudes among US teens about social media and technology use — and it’s got some surprises.  Be sure to click through to the full report.

You know who teens are, right?  They’re your next generation of employees.  And it turns out their loyalty to social media may be less monolithic than you think.  How many wish they could go back to a time without Facebook?  How many may be having their life online tainted by encountering bias content?

Spend a minute with some of the anxieties and interests reflected in these teens’ responses — and then reflect on how your use of social at your business could seize the opportunity to be different and valuable.