Public Service Announcements

When companies hire or appoint a person in charge of internal communication, what they often seek is somebody who understands Public Service Announcements.

This person ends up being a sounding board – or setting up a sounding board – for decisions that management is too lazy to communicate or does not know how to communicate. All-hands-on-deck meetings, intranets, committees, chats and channels are all manifestations of a role that slowly turns into a PR service for upper management: let’s give executives a way to share their views and opinions with everyone.

Communication is two-way, though.

And so, when is the last time your company’s all-hands has sparked an interesting discussion? When is the last time that a post shared on the intranet has led to the improvement of a process, to an idea for a new product? When has a conversation on a public channel been effective at changing the way you look at problems?

Communication is two-way. And it happens whether you are prepared for it or not.

So, if you are about to be appointed as the new internal communication manager, give this some thoughts. How can I start an actual conversation on an interesting topic? How can I make sure that ideas emerge and get discussed? How can I affect the culture, so that communication is no longer a role, but the way we do things around here?

The role is going to feel much more exciting right away.

The opposite of command

In terms of management, the opposite of command is not freedom.

Freedom is an excuse beyond which many bad managers take cover. You are free to choose what you learn. You are free to come to the office or not. You are free to talk to whoever you feel like talking to.

Freedom, for most of us at least, is also a given. You are not differentiating your organisation by allowing me to learn, move, talk.

So, the opposite of command is not freedom.

The opposite of command is care.

I care, and that’s why we should talk about your strengths, ambitions, the opportunities we offer, the opportunities the market offers. I care and I will help you get there.

I care, and that’s why I have researched the topic and found that this is the most effective way to coordinate hybrid work. I care and I will guarantee your safety (physical and mental) and that of your colleagues.

I care, and that’s why I have prepared a list of people you should talk to regarding this project. I care and I will be with you as you seek buy-in to move this forward.

Care is what people seek. Care is what retains talent. Care is the differentiator.

Your choice

Facebook is aware that its tools have damaging effects on teenagers, particularly teenage girls. They also know that troll farms manage some of the most successful pages on their platforms.

Amazon regularly hires elderly people to work in their warehouses, asking them to work 10- to 12-hour shifts in challenging conditions. They keep them motivated by praising their work ethics and promising a social experience. Amazon also has the most dangerous warehouses in the US, with twice the rate of injuries of an average warehouse.

Of course, these are big companies, under a lot of scrutiny. But for you as an individual the question is: are you ok supporting that?

Both yes and no are legitimate answers.

Just make sure you act in accordance with your choice.

Free trial

Does your audience want a free trial? Of course.

Do you have the resources to offer a free trial that delivers the right experience to the right audience, making them excited to continue on their journey to become champions of your own perspective?

Most companies would answer no.

And yet, they offer a free trial.

And that’s because a free trial, with the right form to capture the right information – credit card, of course – is very little about experience, about user journey, about changing minds and behaviors, while it is very much about boosting vanity metrics.

Your choice.