Sunday, November 30, 2003

KM and Internal Comms
Last week I attended a conference on Internal Communications courtesy of Ark Group. The emphasis was very much on the link between comms and Org Change, but I was struck by just how similar the content was to KM conferences (had I walked in blindfolded I may never have noticed... well, not until I stubbed my tow on a big sign saying 'Internal Communications' anyhow). There were the same messages about 'people matter over technology', there was an interest in getting people to communicate and learn from each other, and, intriguingly there was the same angst about 'how do we get taken more seriously'. It seems Internal Comms people are no longer happy to be the journalist of the company newsletter and now want the ears of the chairmen to advise on how to get the message over. Anybody fancy forming a coalition? One ear each?

Whilst there, I was amused to see a flyer on a whole conference dedicated to 'email management'. My first reaction was that it was way over the top. But does it need bringing under control more or is it merely symptomatic of a deeper set of problems? Tony Quinlan's workshop synopsis struck a chord: "One of the first difficulties is that repetition, often a key component of a communication campaign, becomes taboo". Is it because we work in a world too complex for nice clear processes, so we're all broadcasting to each other in the hope that somebody is on top of it all? Because nobody is, we adopt increasingly extreme strategies (e.g. out of office messages that tell the recipient all mail will be deleted until you return), and force the very repetition we all resent?

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