“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
-George Bernard Shaw
Our community of conversation seeks guests with unique style and perspective, who also share our core values – people first, effective communication as the key to leading transformational change, and that change is not an event or project but rather an ongoing leadership responsibility. To quote Aristotle, “all communication must lead to change.”
This week we enjoyed the energy and insight of Ben Baker, who after years of applying his communication skills in high-tech sales and direct mail, ultimately turned his attention to supporting companies with their internal communications. Of course, we learn of this transition through story, as Ben discovered his Ikigai was not only storytelling but enabling and empowering others to tell their story.
Here are a few of the nuggets gleaned from Ben’s engaging visit with us:
- At its inception, change initiatives tend to happen with only a small number of people working hard to figure it out. This group has a high level of engagement with the “why” of this change as they work hard to become clearer on the what of the change. And suddenly they pull back the curtain and roll out the change. “The small group is on Step 32 and at roll out everybody else is on Step zero.”
- Listening is an essential component of change communication. Nodding heads do not necessarily mean understanding and certainly not buy-in.
- Employ the Sam Walton walk-around method. Too many leaders sit at their desks, inundated with analytics and statistics, making decisions based on algorithms. Try a bit of “what are you thinking?”
- Be creative on how to earn the trust of your people and find ways to hear your people’s voices.
- Human beings are the X factor. We bring our whole self to work, including our emotions. This truth is rich with opportunity and fraught with pitfalls.
- Internal podcasts can be used to generate and distribute information asynchronously. This enables you to talk about issues from multiple perspectives and generate engagement at all levels. A true conversation starter.
- Expect to design a long-term initiative. It takes time for change to take root. Communication strategies need to be adjusted as we go, but having the commitment over time increases the likelihood of sustainable change.We are hopeful you will find this conversation as meaningful as we did.
Ben’s website is full of examples (stories) and is a great conversation starter for your change leadership communication. To learn more about Ben and how he can support your brand success: