The most excellent Arthur Page Society Spring Conference was chockablock this year with great speakers.
One, in particular, was Rick DeLisi of the Communications Executive Council (CEC).
Rick analyzed the rapidly-changing landscape and shared his views on how organizations are changing the way they communicate. Most, he said, are moving towards knowledge sharing. It’s no longer a ‘top down, here’s what management thinks and wants you to think’ strategy. Rather, the communications model is quickly evolving towards the market deciding what it thinks and wants, and organizations struggling to keep pace.
The good news: the corporate communications functions will be at the epicenter of facilitating knowledge sharing. The bad news: most corporate communicators interviewed by the CEC admitted they’d made absolutely no change to adapt to this changing environment.
The CEC questionnaire provided multiple choices, including: ‘greater centralization of your function,’ ‘deeper integration in marketing,’ ‘change in hiring profile,’ ‘change in function’s reporting line,’ ‘greater decentralization of communication’s staff and resources,’ or ‘deeper structural integration with human resources.’
But, the corporate communications types overwhelmingly selected ‘no change.’ Are they whistling past the graveyard? Fiddling while Rome burns?
I think the answer may be more basic. Guessing that most senior corporate communicators are well into their middle age, I wonder if they feel adapting to change will be their successor’s headache? Most are nearing retirement, are probably in comfortable positions and may not want to rock the boat.
I really hope I’m wrong. But the CEC findings speak for themselves. Let’s hope for everyone’s sake the respondents’ fast-track successors are as swift as the adjective suggests.