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John Smythe - A velvet revolution for employee communication?

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John Smythe - A velvet revolution for employee communication?

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When times are tough good organizations will be redoubling their efforts to both keep people in the picture and engage them in decisions that effect them and which they can contribute to.

The trouble is that the command and control leadership model of the last millennia resulted in top down employee communication being hard wired into the way corporate internal communication is used and experienced. Yes there are now all kinds of feedback processes – much accelerated by new technology - and very many examples of real inclusion of people in decisions and big ticket change.

But for many workers the last millennia communication model is still about the alignment of the many with the decisions of the few.

The rise of leader and employee engagement is resulting in a complete re-think of the DNA of corporate internal communication as leadership models become more inclusive.

John will expand on the idea of the velvet revolution in employee communication exploring the clash between last millennia top down communication and more inclusive ways of leadership set in the context of a coming global collision between democratic capitalism in the West and authoritarian capitalism rising in the East.

When times are tough good organizations will be redoubling their efforts to both keep people in the picture and engage them in decisions that effect them and which they can contribute to.

The trouble is that the command and control leadership model of the last millennia resulted in top down employee communication being hard wired into the way corporate internal communication is used and experienced. Yes there are now all kinds of feedback processes – much accelerated by new technology - and very many examples of real inclusion of people in decisions and big ticket change.

But for many workers the last millennia communication model is still about the alignment of the many with the decisions of the few.

The rise of leader and employee engagement is resulting in a complete re-think of the DNA of corporate internal communication as leadership models become more inclusive.

John will expand on the idea of the velvet revolution in employee communication exploring the clash between last millennia top down communication and more inclusive ways of leadership set in the context of a coming global collision between democratic capitalism in the West and authoritarian capitalism rising in the East.

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John Smythe - A velvet revolution for employee communication?

  1. 1. A velvet revolution for employee communication? Simply Summit 26th April 2012, John Smythe © Engage for Change 2012 This is the IP of Engage for Change and can only be reproduced in whole or in part with acknowledgement
  2. 2. Menu  Social velvet revolutions & corporate leadership  A velvet revolution at work – why now?  Last millennia or new millennia workplace? What/who is internal communication for? © Engage for Change 2012 This is the IP of Engage for Change and can only be reproduced in whole or in part with acknowledgement 2
  3. 3. Velvet revolutions........here, there, China? Lech Walesa at Gdansk Shipyard addressing workers © Engage for Change 2012 This is the IP of Engage for Change and can only be reproduced in whole or in part with acknowledgement
  4. 4. Coincidental social upheavals? The Arab Spring Demonstrators Protestors gathering in marching through Tahrir Square, Habib Bourquiba Cairo, Egypt Avenue, Tunis Political dissidents in Sana’a, Yemen Protests in Duma, demanding the Syria resignation of the president © Engage for Change 2012 This is the IP of Engage for Change and can only be reproduced in whole or in part with acknowledgement 4
  5. 5. A velvet revolution at work gathers pace Distributed:  Leadership  Intelligence Last millennia leadership  Collaboration Command and control New millennia leadership © Engage for Change 2012 This is the IP of Engage for Change and can only be reproduced in whole or in part with acknowledgement 5
  6. 6. The end of the loyalty for security deal  Cradle to grave portfolio careers  Loyalty for security transactional relationship  Dependence independence  „Our human resources‟ creative talent on loan  Employees citizens  Command and control well governed inclusivity  I left the company I left my boss  CEO = GOD CEO = Guide © Engage for Change 2012 This is the IP of Engage for Change and can only be reproduced in whole or in part with acknowledgement 6
  7. 7. Last millennia or new millennia workplace? © Engage for Change 2012 This is the IP of Engage for Change and can only be reproduced in whole or in part with acknowledgement 7
  8. 8. What is internal communication for under command and control?  Adviser to senior and local management on staff expectations and message appetite  Provider of the big pictures  Localising the big pictures  Listening to employees  Opportunities for dialogue  Equipping leaders to communicate  Celebrating corporate and individual success  Acknowledging corporate failure  Opportunities for corporate innovation  And edit, align, coerce ? © Engage for Change 2012 This is the IP of Engage for Change 8 and can only be reproduced in whole or in part with acknowledgement
  9. 9. Coercive communication © Engage for Change 2012 This is the IP of Engage for Change and can only be reproduced in whole or in part with acknowledgement 9
  10. 10. Internal communication – alignment or liberation? A cross roads? FROM ASSUMPTION THAT ITS ROLE IS PRIMARILY MESSAGING DECISIONS MADE BY ELITES TO THE ASSUMPTION THAT ITS ROLE IS ALSO TO ENGAGE THE MANY IN WELL GOVERNED AND WIDELY DISTRIBUITED DECISION MAKING © Engage for Change 2012 This is the IP of Engage for Change and can only be reproduced in whole or in part with acknowledgement 10
  11. 11. 1. Elites deciding 2. Message forming 3. Message delivery 4. Message impact 5. Reinforcement © Engage for Change 2012 This is the IP of Engage for Change and can only be reproduced in whole or in part with acknowledgement 11
  12. 12. The same thing right? Communication Engagement • Making connections • Opening decision making and change to the right groups to: • Sharing meaning - add value • Influencing mood / climate - accelerate execution - broaden ownership and • Setting context sustainability • Reinforcing status quo / • = Power sharing hierarchy • Disturbing status quo / suspending hierarchy © Engage for Change 2012 This is the IP of Engage for Change and can only be reproduced in whole or in part with acknowledgement 12
  13. 13. Generalists solve complex problems © Engage for Change 2012 This is the IP of Engage for Change and can only be reproduced in whole or in part with acknowledgement 13
  14. 14. What engages us? - distributed leadership “A culture of distributed leadership enables people at work to liberate their creativity to deliver surprisingly good results for their institution and themselves” By:  Inviting employees who deliver the end result to contribute to day to day decisions, strategy and change in a well governed way  Leaders at every level who have the appetite and capability to engage people in the decision making process. Shared power © Engage for Change 2012 This is the IP of Engage for Change and can only be reproduced in whole or in part with acknowledgement 14
  15. 15. Employee engagement – it‟s elective not coercive People engage themselves when they are invited to contribute to every day operational decisions and big ticket strategy and change that effects them and which they can affect. © Engage for Change 2012 This is the IP of Engage for Change and can only be reproduced in whole or in part with acknowledgement 15
  16. 16. What engages people at work? – power sharing Telling OUTCOME Selling OUTCOME the many what has Hooligans or to the many what Compliant been decided by the spectators has been decided by collaborators few the few Inclusion Co-creation Driving OUTCOME Judging who will add OUTCOME accountability down Willing value if included in Personally by implicating front end decision committed collaborators people as individuals forming for change in execution & strategy reformers © Engage for Change 2012 This is the IP of Engage for Change and can only be reproduced in whole or in part with acknowledgement 16
  17. 17. Business case - the cost of the employee satisfaction industry…UK PLC Hostages Apostles 28% 33% Fence-sitters 16% Disconnected Mercenaries 20% 3% © Engage for Change 2012 This is the IP of Engage for Change and can only be reproduced in whole or in part with acknowledgement 17
  18. 18. Effective engagement still requires top down clarity Top down and Elites make closing Elites decide the givens bottom up reporting decisions and/or on engagement arbitrate process Top down messaging of givens and invitation to challenge and contribute © Engage for Change 2012 This is the IP of Engage for Change and can only be reproduced in whole or in part with acknowledgement 18
  19. 19. New roles for the communicator  Advisor - challenging the pattern of top down, elite based decision making which must end in telling and selling  Negotiating with elites where others can contribute to add value and accelerate change & strategy by understanding the demographics of the workforce  Building the „engagement challenge‟ into change & operational improvement processes  Grafting engagement capability into training, development, performance management & recognition © Engage for Change 2012 This is the IP of Engage for Change and can only be reproduced in whole or in part with acknowledgement 19
  20. 20. Building the engagement challenge into change The What A challenge / crisis / opportunity presents Evaluation Sensing, identifying, crystallisation ? HOW shall it be Address, ignore, postpone?; risk ? Approach to engagement done & reward Approach to engagement Tell Sell Tell Sell Inclusion Co-creation Who will add value Options for action developed ? Inclusion Co-creation to execution ? ? Options evaluated Execution plan – ? The HOW Decision made Decisions, large or tiny have a life cycle. Decision makers should make judgements about who will add value to „the what / content‟ and the „how / execution‟. © Engage for Change 2012 This is the IP of Engage for Change and can only be reproduced in whole or in part with acknowledgement
  21. 21. Building engagement skills into skills development Effective engagement - three ingredients:  My decision making process skills: engaging people in decision making  My presence: my impact  My language: “words are the key to the soul” Effective decisions, fast execution, better relationships, culture of trust and respect. © Engage for Change 2012 This is the IP of Engage for Change and can only be reproduced in whole or in part with acknowledgement 21
  22. 22. Personal engagement skills = how I include people in decisions Negotiate authentic 1 Consider who will add value if engaged in decision forming upfront 2 agreement about decision: a shared story COMPLETE 3 Learning from Consider who needs 5 listening / observing DECISION CYCLE to be communicated with and engaged in execution How to engage & communicate 4 - method - style © Engage for Change 2012 This is the IP of Engage for Change and can only be reproduced in whole or in part with acknowledgement 22
  23. 23. Skills of leaders who engage effectively (YouGov;UK) Creates space for teams and individuals to test and explore whilst ensuring short term demands are met (0.13) Accepts challenge and addresses questions (0.11) Provides insight and explanation to help create a clear context for the work we do (0.10) Identifies the right people to contribute given the demands of different situations (0.10) Creates value by engaging others (0.09) Communicates clear messages Has the knowledge needed to Is adept at dealing with different about what needs to be done lead our team in the work we do personalities Invites people who can make a Helps groups integrate different Helps members of the team difference to be involved, perspectives to create overcome resistance to change irrespective of level of seniority sustainable solutions © Engage for Change 2012 This is the IP of Engage for Change and can only be reproduced in whole or in part with acknowledgement
  24. 24. Stepping back Q) What is internal communication for today? Q) A new millennia or last millennia organization? Q) Is internal communication leading or lagging the leadership style? Q) Starting a change in I/C‟s role  Pilot in a business or change process  Pilot in a function  Work with HR on capability © Engage for Change 2012 This is the IP of Engage for Change and can only be reproduced in whole or in part with acknowledgement 24
  25. 25. And finally Sir Wim Bischoff (chair Lloyds Banking Group) as a senior sponsor of Engage for Success, the government‟s report(s) into employee engagement – has called for employee engagement to be one of the key health factors to be considered by shareholders – the velvet revolution at work is becoming main stream. Is the internal communications establishment ahead or behind the wave? © Engage for Change 2012 This is the IP of Engage for Change and can only be reproduced in whole or in part with acknowledgement 25
  26. 26. Thank you. johnsmythe@engageforchange.com www.engageforchange.com © Engage for Change 2012 This is the IP of Engage for Change and can only be reproduced in whole or in part with acknowledgement 26

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