internal communications

Attention is a resource

For the past few years, a Microsoft Canada Consumer Insights Report has made the media rounds claiming that the average human attention span has declined from 12 seconds in 2000 to about 8 seconds in 2013, compared to 9 seconds for goldfish.


There are many implications to this work that are lost in the second-hand reporting, and I would encourage anyone to read the core study. For our purposes, though, I think it brings to the forefront that attention is a resource, and a highly limited one at that.



By | June 22nd, 2016|change management, internal communications|0 Comments

The human factor

We focus on finding solutions to our problems, but sometimes the bigger challenge is choosing the right problem to solve. Sports like basketball make it easy — score points and the team with the most wins. Business and life, on the other hand, are much harder. You can spend decades scoring baskets only to find out that rebounds are what mattered … or time of possession … or total electrolytes consumed.


When we look at widely admired leaders, we often find people who have an unshakeable sense of the problem they were solving. It guides them, tells them when to compromise, when to be radical and when to be unyielding despite the odds.



The conflict inherent to change

You may at some point have seen a version of the Change Acceptance curve. People process change in very similar ways along a path that, when it works, takes them from status quo levels of satisfaction through denial, resistance, exploration, hope and commitment.


Interestingly, this maps pretty neatly to the stages of grief: denial & isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. One useful filter for change management is to view it as a way to help people move through their grief about why things cannot “be like they always were before.”


By | May 19th, 2016|change management, internal communications|0 Comments

Four reasons the “burning platform” gets change wrong

The burning platform has a storied place in the jargon of change management. The idea of creating urgency has been prominent in the literature, beginning with John Kotter’s seminal work, Leading Change.


Some prefer to frame urgency up as “eliminating complacency” or “unwavering leadership commitment,” but the basic premise remains: to make big changes you have to give employees a stark picture of the current situation.


By | May 13th, 2016|change management, internal communications|0 Comments

What does strategic communications mean? From bricks to cathedrals

There’s an old story about the building of a cathedral. The patron who has largely funded construction has asked for a tour of the building site, and the architect and foreman gladly oblige her.


On the appointed day, she arrives to be greeted by the pair, who promptly take her to where the work is being done. They encounter three brick masons over the course of the day, and the patron is greatly struck by the range of their attitudes and the quality of their work.