Monthly Archives: July 2016

Drowning in randomness

There is a well-known photo of Lego people pushing a cart with square wheels. An observer stands to one side holding a set of round ones, while his laboring peers respond, “No thanks. We are too busy.”


Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a veteran trader and thoughtful essayist. In his book, Fooled by Randomness, he observes that, “Trading forces someone to think hard; those who merely work hard generally lose their focus and intellectual energy. In addition, they end up drowning in randomness [in ways that]… draw people to focus on noise rather than the signal.”



Three ways employee communications can be more strategic

Most groups want to be strategic, but we often make assumptions about what that might look like. I addressed the topic of strategic communications at a high level in one of my recent posts.


This time, I want to be more specific about the tactics of strategy. What can employee communications specifically do to be more strategic, support change and help drive better business outcomes?


Studies in simplicity: Microgoals

Big and complicated problems often generate big, complex solutions. Ken Segall puts it very well in his book, Think Simple, when he writes, “It’s in our DNA to prefer simpler things, yet we so often open the door to complexity. That’s because being complicated is easy. Making things simpler is the more challenging task.”


If you want to do one thing today that will greatly increase your chance of success on any project, personal or business, do the hard work up front to make it simpler.



Four signs your communication cascade won’t work

Many people think of a top-down communication cascade as their go-to method for communicating important changes. A communication cascade begins when executive leaders take a set of messages to their staff meetings. Attendees are supposed to carry the same messages to their staff meetings and so forth, until theoretically every employee has received the information.


At most companies, and especially those that have not invested significantly in developing managers and leadership, the disadvantages of a cascade often outweigh the benefits. Don’t take it from me. The next time you plan a large-scale communication cascade, look for the following signs as indications that your critical information may not reach your audience with impact.


By | July 18th, 2016|change management, internal communications|0 Comments

Trust and consequences

If you are looking for a way to differentiate your company in a way that competitors will find it hard to emulate, look no further than the level of trust you have with your employees.


Imagine two CEOs looking at efforts that will bring significant changes to their employees. The cost of health has been increasing annually at double the rate of inflation. This year something has to give: employee premiums are going up substantially, the old HMO standby is going away, and a financially significant wellness incentive is in the works.



By | July 12th, 2016|benefits, change management, internal communications|0 Comments

Falls or infections: The courage of simplicity

Several people have asked me for more specific stories about the points I discuss here. Here is an interesting experience that highlights the importance of simplicity and prioritizing in effective change efforts.


A hospital had just engaged me that in recent months had seen an increase in patient falls. Hospital leadership was highly stressed. Middle managers were trapped between competing and conflicting executive demands and a tired and somewhat demoralized staff.


By | July 7th, 2016|change management, hospital & health care|0 Comments

Three misconceptions about change

Experts from the Harvard Business Review to IBM to Forbes/Towers Watson agree that change programs are successful about 25 percent of the time. It follows that if you are doing what everyone else is doing, you can expect to fail 75 percent of the time.


So what are some of the biggest misconceptions about change? Here are three tips to help you zig where others zag. Put yourself in the happy minority of companies that consistently introduce effective change.