David Ferrabbee and I had lunch recently, and asked the question, what value do we add, really, as “communication experts”?
The main reason many of us seem to keep our jobs could arguably be because we serve the outdated management thinking and organisational structure of our employers, not because the skills we bring to the table matter to the business.
I know, that’s a bit harsh.
But a small movement is gathering. A newish generation of those who are a bit fed up with the old guard and their relentlessly incremental, inward-looking, clubby and self-congratulating thinking…
The point is, have a look at, say, Euan Semple; or Guy Kawasaki; or Mike Williams; or Russell Davies; or Flo Heiss… Euan has more followers on Twitter as there are international members of several communication associations.
Maybe it’s just me. I have a sardonic edge; I’m suspicious of clubs that would have me as a member; I don’t like groupthink; and ultimately maybe I need to admit I believe can make a bigger difference being on the outside of the tent pissing in.
And maybe it’s the world I inhabit – designers, digiterati, most under 30 (25 even) and constantly not only tapping apps on their iphones, but developing apps for iphones. I’m sort of an honorary member of their club; the older guy who gets it. Who is, in fact, often their champion on projects.
Once again, I wish internal communicators and our broad associations would start looking over the fence into other people’s yards, because to be frank theirs are a lot more interesting. And we can get inspired by what they’re all doing, rather than eking another 1% effectiveness out of how to run employee surveys, or write for the web, or use social media internally.
That’s how we will remain relevant, and valuable. That’s how disruptive innovation occurs. The time for incremental improvements in employee engagement is past, I’m afraid.
The guys on the other side of the fence are looking at ways to destroy – for all the right reasons – everything our profession seems to stand for. Not in a meanspirited, evil way, but just in a way that reflects that the incremental audience-message-channel-measurement view of the world is just so … flawed.
The founder of Facebook recently said, “The other guys think the purposeof communication is to get information. We think the purpose of information is to get communication.”
That is a massive shift in thinking no number of awards for “internal communication excellence” as is going to be able to stave.
I mean, THIS is interesting (from Publicis sister agency Fallon):
(And I’m a twitter sceptic)
And THIS isn’t:
Well, I’m tired of it.
Anyone want to join the Evolution, drop me a line.