Germany: A Look at an Emerging Internal Comms Powerhouse

Is Germany the world’s emerging internal communication powerhouse? For 11 days back in March, I travelled the length and breadth of the country and met with practitioners of all stripes–and found an industry on the verge of a breakthrough on several fronts.

While the day to day practice of IC is still rudimentary in places–stuff of the “newsletters and posters” variety, German practitioners are embracing social media and social communication with abandon.   Their national IC community is organized on the Xing network rather than in a dues-consuming association, and new ideas from outside are absorbed more through Twitter feeds than conferences or publications.

At the same time, new software applications are being adopted in major companies like Siemens and Deutsche Telekom that give sanction and voice to genuine bottom-up communication.

The piece can be found on Melcrum’s Internal Communication Hub at http://bit.ly/9tm2xE.

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Free Associations: An Interactive Post on CommScrum

In this posting, the men and the woman of CommScrum discuss their short history, their commitment to free discussion, and the reactions they have received from unexpected places…in the script of an online SkypeChat.

The conversation, which covers such topics as the tensions between hierarchy and democracy in organizations,  the relevance of various associations and players in the business communications space, and the likely emergence of like-minded “tribes” as forces to be reckoned with in that space, can be found at:  http://commscrum.wordpress.com.

Don’t be a Cascade Casualty

While the battle between social and hierarchical approaches to communication is mainly being fought among industry thought leaders at the moment, it has more basic implications at street level–where communicators are being asked to use outdated tools and approaches.

In this piece on Communitelligence, “Don’t be a Cascade Casualty,” I shift focus to offering some very basic, easy to follow, and easy to defend guidance on what to do if you are asked to organize a cascade.  The article can be found at http://bit.ly/aGKLrT

Is More “Top-Down Inspiration” Really the Answer for Organizational Recovery?

Challenging the conventional wisdom that the answer for reviving organizations is a more-of-the-same focus on “employee engagement” and “top-down inspirational leadership” is the purpose of this piece, written as a reply to industry association IABC’s recent introduction to its Communication World magazine.  The reply, which can be found on Communitelligence at http://bit.ly/bdsd2h , instead offers tangible approaches where strategic internal communication can make real differences without invoking the need for inspirational interventions.

Introducing Internal Communication 3.0: Workforce Citizenship

The convergence of internal, external and social communication has been discussed a lot lately, but in this piece, “Internal Communication 3.0: Workforce Citizenship”, I’ve laid out a picture of what such a convergence could look like, described the turbulent social-media driven changes driving things in this direction, and identified some of the implications for internal communication and corporate communication as a whole.

At the core of this vision is an idea I’m calling “workforce citizenship”–a kind of engagement that reflects a renewed sense of two-way responsibility between staff and the organizations to which they belong, and by incorporating advocacy as well as productivity as part of that responsibility, consciously builds the workforce into an organization’s communication architecture.

The article was published originally on Ragan.Com, an industry-leading daily news-source dedicated to internal and external communication, and can now be found at Communitelligence at http://bit.ly/dyJ07v.

CommScrum: Dethroning the Cult of the Manager?

The persistent primacy of the line manager as a primary communication channel in organizations–despite credible research claiming employees prefer electronic and print communication in a majority of cases–is the subject of the latest rendition of CommScrum.

CommScrum can be found, as always at http://commscrum.wordpress.com.

Invictus: A Change Communication Case Study

While good films about leadership are fairly abundant, films which illustrate the challenges inherent in change communication are far rarer.  One recent film which brilliantly tells a change communication story is Invictus.  Invictus details how Nelson Mandela’s keen understanding of resistance and symbolism pointed him towards South Africa’s national rugby side, The Springboks, as a vehicle for drawing Black and White South Africa closer in the wake of seismic changes following the transition to Black majority rule.

My review of Invictus is now published on Communitelligence, and can be found at http://bit.ly/bppTG1.

Democracy’s Mirror Images

In my first piece for the leading European political journal “E!Sharp”, I take on an observation I’ve long noticed about European and American societies:  that the American political system and the European workplace are designed to encourage democratic behavior, while the American workplace and European political systems are much less keen on democratic participation.

With current trends around social media accelerating citizen activism on both continents, however, the possibility of convergence makes the issue something worth noting.

The piece can be found here: http://bit.ly/aFotMm

Praise from Internal Comms Legend Roger D’Aprix

My recent writing on internal communication and engagement has drawn the attention of Roger D’Aprix, one of the most durable and beloved figures in the industry, and author of seven books on the subject–including the “The Credible Company: Communicating with Today’s Skeptical Workforce.”

Said Roger:  “Mike, I like the fact that you go against the grain of this profession and are willing to say so.  Reminds me of my younger self.  Keep it up.”

For more about Roger, please check out his LinkedIn profile at http://bit.ly/coWOHN.

Eight Myths about Internal Communication

Having worked in internal communication in a variety of organizations since 1997, I’ve seen and heard a lot of myths and aphorisms about “good communication” which, alas, are either untrue or deeply overstated.

Here are eight of the real doozies—I’m sure there are others; if you know of any, pile into the comments:

  1. Social Media is new
  2. Treat employees like customers
  3. Good communication is free
  4. Employees can’t say no
  5. Use the disembodied second person
  6. Good internal communication is all about recognition
  7. It’s all about the bosses
  8. Line Management Cascades are the best form of communication

For the full story–and the explosion of each of these myths, you can visit my posting at www.communitelligence.com.