It is interesting to note that while a few readers had opinions about this post they preferred writing back to my e-mail ID with their thoughts instead of sharing it on my blog. When I probed, one reader felt he ‘wasn’t an expert’ and therefore didn’t want his thoughts viewed online.
Culture playing a role here? Possible. I was asked recently about the impact of culture on internal communications and this is telling a story.
Back to my last post and what it means for Ramesh.
Ramesh needs to first get his priorities right. He is at the beginning of his career and it is appropriate for him to ask his manager about his role and where the team and the organization is headed. It is obvious that Vidya isn’t helping him much with her oblique responses or her rebukes. Her understanding of her team’s responsibilities isn’t accurate and only puts the team in an awkward position. While it does need to align with the organization’s goals it can’t be the same. Vidya clearly doesn’t have a seat at the table with her management and she can get there only when she realizes it herself.
That said, nothing stops Ramesh from figuring out what internal communications does and learn from best practices available in publications and journals around the globe. Also, he must take feedback constructively and believe in getting better. He should also change his frame of reference and benchmark agains the best in the field – rather than feel disappointed when Vidya puts him down.
He needs to pick up what comes his way, sharpen his saw and make an impact. The only way he can improve his standing is by creating a niche for himself in the team and in the organization. That comes with focus, discipline and a lot of hard work. As one of the readers wrote in – ‘he can pick up ghost blogging and learn how the leader thinks’. Interesting way to establish his internal reputation.
Ramesh can join communities on Linkedin and other forums to gain perspectives from leaders in the industry. He can enroll for courses or workshops which throw light on best practices and models in internal communications. He needs to elevate not just his thinking but that of Vidya and his company leadership. His goal isn’t to be just another effective internal communicator. It is larger that that. He needs to be a change agent and influencer especially when people around don’t see value or appreciate the impact this crucial function can make. Ramesh can enlist other stakeholders in the company and educate them about the value of internal communications. He can pick up small projects and demonstrate how it improves connection, builds engagement or drives change – whatever the challenge the stakeholder is facing. He can convert those quick wins into cases for larger change in the organization. Ramesh can scout around and look for gaps in communications and processes and recommend solutions.
The canvas of internal communications is enormous. Unless Ramesh owns his own growth and becomes an expert at what he does there is very little chance of him seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Internal communications is a journey and not a destination in itself. He needs to understand the skills and competencies needed for the role and then plan how he can build them into his repository.
However, as one reader pointed out – Ramesh can only do so much with limited support from Vidya. Unless you have a manager who appreciates what you want to do, you can’t go far.
Vidya on the other hand has a lot to do with understanding her role, her team’s strengths and responsibilities. She can’t let the winds of change or fancy dictate how internal communications is run. Instead she must bring fresh perspectives and leadership to her work. She can begin by planning work better so that ad-hoc requests such as ghost blogging can be picked up those passionate about it. Ideally, she should turn down the request since ghost blogging never really works. If leaders can’t find time to communicate then she must set expectations that the gulf between the leader and staff will widen further. No leader would like it that way and it will need a lot of confidence on Vidya’s part to say it like it is.
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