SOUND BITES: Who's right—Roger or Steve?

Members of RR's pro panel choose sides over two columnists' disagreement in the unending debate of tactics vs. strategy

Roger: Big —C' communication is just one —slice of the pie' Jeff Levy, Corporate Authority Communications (516.367.3690 or I agree wholeheartedly with Roger, that it's the small —c' communications that matter most. It's those tiny things people say and do, and don't say and do, that get remembered and serve to define how we interpret what behavior is expected (and required). I just conducted a workshop on creating what I call "commitment culture' for about a dozen CEOs representing midsized companies. All of these companies have their communications programs and assortment of media, like intranets, newsletters, town halls, executive breakfasts, etc. But most of these CEOs still remain frustrated because employees still don't get it—they still don't see the vision, still have their own agendas when conducting meetings, still can't see the big picture when making plans and still say "yes I will' to senior management when they mean "maybe I will if the mood strikes me right.' One client right now, a well-known Fortune 500 firm, focuses too heavily on the BIG C communications. Unfortunately, they're much more interested in communication vehicles than anything else. As long as the Webcasts are on schedule, the intranet is updated routinely, the worldwide newsletter gets distributed on time—that's good enough for the CEO. When I raised the issue to the internal communications manager about helping the manufacturing people interpret the company's goals so that each person understands what it means to them, as individuals, the response I got was, "I've got too many things to do right now.' And I couldn't argue. He had videos to shoot and articles to write. To really make a difference in an organization's ability to align people with its goals, we need to focus more on the little "c' communications—and treat it as an equal piece in the pie. We must realize that the BIG C communications is just one slice of the total pie—nothing more. Just like fare wages is just a slice, and professional growth opportunities is another. When we can stand back and look at the big picture, that's when we realize, one slice can never substitute for the whole pie.

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