Are you being real?

Inspired today by a recent podcast from The Ready in the episode called messaging change, on communication. It started me thinking about all the communication that I have been a part of either in creating or in receiving. The key takeaway for me is are we being “Real” in much of what is communicated inside our organisations? Do we treat everyone like adults in the way we address the matters that we need to communicate?

“Are we being “Real” in much of what is communicated”

As I think about the need for change and how we have to start redesigning work, I see now how communication has to not only change but has to become a critical part of how we start to navigate the future change. In my last few blog posts, I discussed the “Future of Work” and how the time for change is now by looking back at the context of work and the DNA that much of our current organisations are based on. We need to see that we are working in the wrong context design for the last century and design for efficiency at scale in a predictable environment. In my next post “Start building roundabouts” I used the metaphor of the traffic lights and the roundabout to highlight what system, and assumptions you are operating under. Lastly in the “How do we start” I shared some practical steps to how you can start to understand the “tensions” and design an approach to co-create to understand the possibilities to solve these and then implement them via a series of experiments.

So back to communication, we need to change the dynamic to how and what we communicate. I like the points in the podcast that we seem to have a need to control everything, and are afraid to communicate anything negative as if we did then it would mean that we are not in control. I’m sure we have all been part on having to assist prepare communication and we have all seen how the original context by the time it has gone around to all stakeholders, like a rock on a beach, in the end, it becomes a very well rounded object with all the edges having been removed with so many waves washing over it. Many would contend that in the end, we take so much out that all that is left is, well not much, which is a very polite way of saying it. So why do we have to control the message and why are we so afraid of being “Real” and treating everyone like adults. We all know when we read the communications that we are trying to understand or read between the lines of what the real story is. Why did that person leave, did they go or were they pushed.

“So why do we have to control the message and why are we so afraid of being “Real” and treating everyone like adults.”

So when we think of how to move forward with changing and redesigning work, I speak a lot of the new mindset we need. I think we also have to start thinking very much that we need a new voice as well, one that has authenticity, one that speaks more directly not via written communication that is the output of the “spin machine” but more human. I agree with the podcast that video town hall-style where there is an open Q&A would be one of the best formats. We all appreciate honesty and openness, we are all grown-ups so we understand that there sometimes is bad news and instead of managing the message (spin), we can all be part of the discussion. I believe this will go along way to ensuring we are demonstrating the values that we want to be in the foundation of the new DNA and culture, not just written on the wall or in the onboarding training but more something that is actioned not just preached.

“We need a new voice, one that leads us to the future of work”

We have such an important opportunity ahead of us as we look forward to beyond the COVID-19 crisis. We must seize this time to learn from how we have adjusted to working in this very different world for a lot of us. I know that there are some great examples of leadership and communication during this period, but I want to stress that we don’t just assume that we go back to normal and that normal is back to the corporate communications machine - we need a new voice, one that leads us to the future of work, one that is "Real".

If you or your organisation need assistance with how to start redesigning your work then please reach out on and book a conversation.

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