The Communications function in organizations has still today one of the best chances to drive strategic change. To do this, it must master a few things.
It must occupy at least these two corporate streets:
(1) Take over the empty space of Curators of the Informal Organization. Nobody really owns this space. Certainly not traditional HR. Most of the good stuff happens in the informal organization (informal, fluid social networks and conversations) but most of the energy goes to domesticating the formal one: teams, structures, committees, task forces. The informal organization needs care: fluidity, possibility of interaction, internal social networking, water-coolers… Internal/Corporate communications could take over that space, if it wanted. Invent that function. Occupy!
(2) Lead the ‘back to the drawing board’ exercise to re-think the spaces for Branding, Marketing, Employee Engagement, Employee branding, PR and any other cousin I may have forgotten. Bring the cousins in, have a party, but recreate these spaces. Because reinvention may be uncomfortable (more than carrying on in their respective shops as if nothing would trouble them), nobody is taking the lead. Occupy that street. The functional borders are gone or going. All those spaces are blurred. Its all mixed up. These areas have foster parents. Occupy!
If you don’t, somebody else will. Other more vocal cousins? However, if you prefer to keep writing newsletters and prepare Powerpoints for the Board or Investors, up to you, but you are going to enter into terminal illness pretty soon.
It’s a choice. Just saying… These two streets need their own ‘Occupy movement’. You can always say ‘pass!’ But I did warn you.