Monday November 26, 2012
Change is on our minds here at PR Academy because business and how change happens is the topic for our Autumn/Winter series of Alumni Bites (a series of webinars and events on a theme). In putting the programme together I got thinking about why we still talk about change; surely by now its business as usual?
The thing is that no organisation can afford to stand still – if it wants to survive and grow, it needs to adapt (I talked about this in an earlier blog). And of course that’s where PR and internal communication come in – helping to facilitate the conversations that point out how and where this needs to happen. It’s a theme of Max McKeown’s book – Adaptability. As he says: “all failure is a failure to adapt” and something he talked about at the recent CIPR Inside internal communication conference.
So do we need to start talking about adapting rather than change? Create “adaptation programmes”? Hmm. The danger is that it just becomes change by another name in the same way that many organisations realised that the change word was getting worn out and started to talk about transformation instead without it really meaning anything different.
What we need to work towards is organisations that are always listening, discussing and adapting rather than lurching from one change programme to another. It’s a completely different way of thinking about organisations. We need to take our stakeholders with us and this shouldn’t be difficult if we have engaged them in the conversation.
Much of what we learn about PR and communication is that it is about effective two-way communication; communication that is symmetrical in that both the organisation and its stakeholders are willing to adapt their position. It’s a facilitation role, whether you work in external or internal communication.
So as communicators, lets start helping our organisations to feel comfortable not standing still, always looking outwards and giving everyone a chance to contribute. It doesn’t have to mean Madonna-style wholesale re- invention, but if there is one thing that Madonna can teach business is that success doesn’t come from standing still.
Looking differently at change is the subject of 'Viral Change' the book by Leandro Herrero who will be our guest for our Alumni Bites webinar on 4 December at 1pm. According to Herrero the mechanistic top-down model - push from the top of the organisation and get results at the bottom - is past its sell by date. We are looking forward to learning more !