7/11/2017

Internal corporate communication: Heaven or Hell? Jacques Derrida’s disciple, Philosopher Bernard Stiegler, would probably have said that the ancient Greeks would have called it a pharmakon, both a poison and a cure.

Internal corporate communication: Heaven or Hell? Jacques Derrida’s disciple, Philosopher Bernard Stiegler, would probably have said that the ancient Greeks would have called it a pharmakon, both a poison and a cure. But just because it is both poison and cure does not mean that its effect is neutral. Indeed, like cures and poisons, not all technology acts in the same way nor does it have the same impact on individuals. Sometimes, they feel like they are living in Heaven and, at other times, living in Hell.

When I woke up one morning after some restless dreams, I found myself in an office building and I had been transformed into a giant insect.

When internal corporate communication is Hell

To find yourself suddenly in a body blessed with eight legs and some surprising new skills is not all apple pie. Like all members of my new species, my vision is a bit mediocre. From the top of an immense plateau made up of a multitude of small dark cells, I can distinguish microscopic individuals, resigned, working, mechanical, immobile. Ants? They bend under the crates they carry. The crates have "Information. Caution: Heavy " written on the side and are passed from hand to hand, head to head - each of the ants has a defined task and they carry them out piecemeal. Some of them put it in a box, others add color or classify the parcels before archiving them in a remote and dusty place made out to look like a server.

Faced with these packets of information, no one seems to think about anything other than managing the flow and obeying orders and messages. No questioning. No perspective.

My ants seem to be drowning in a flood of information. So much so that communication within the company seems non-existent because transmission takes precedence over exchange. It is probably because these poor wretches have to deal with this information overload. Probably also because they are asked to carry, to support and not to think.

But, from time to time, I see some deviant behavior at the margins that agitates the anthill. The clamor rises up from below. Individual ants are already disrupting the division of labor and the chain of communication within the company: "No to instant messaging", "No to the email bombardment of employees", "No to useless emails", "No to the 122 daily emails", "No to the collateral damage of emails read outside work hours "," No to business infobesity". Next to them, targeting the same goals, Team Yes shout their message: "Yes to the disconnection", "Yes to a day without an email". Their co-workers look at them perplexed. They have realized that the information they carry is not communicating – it’s just information. Worse, they are wondering if the communication tools in the company have killed all humane relationships (sorry, my fellow ants! I still have to get used to my new identity), in turn making their lives into a living hell.

Can internal corporate communications be Heaven?

Pushed along by a slight breeze probably coming from the air-conditioning controlled by the Great Architect, I glide just above a vast, vast space. I can see fulfilled individuals who have evolved in these open spaces. I see it by their smile, by the way they look and the mutual respect they show.

They exchange immaterial information that makes them happy. Nobody is working alone but they are connected to each other and to the world by threads, by a network, by the web that only a spider can understand... In addition, they enjoy sharing knowledge and skills and they relish being questioned. I see followers of Working Out Loud, those who share experiences and feelings, wise and constructive commentators, givers and takers of collective intelligence. At the heart of all these exchanges is information, such as commercial documents, customer data, calendars...

These people give an impression of being masters of what they do and being in control. In reality, their tools seem intuitive and exploitable not just by generations Y and Z, millennials and digital natives, but also by the boomers. It is a real source of progress!

All of them rely on the trinity of "Give, Receive, Render" which allows them to strengthen the bond between them and, as a result, business communications that pass one to one between these individuals also seamlessly flow one to many. Better still, feedback, which is not just permitted but wanted, enriches what they do and helps them improve intellectually and socially. Communication aids collaboration and the search for common areas of exchange because it is in the concept of openness, where value is created.

Besides, I seem to be able to distinguish heavenly bubbles, positive thoughts in which employees recognize that business communication, interpersonal and supported by digital tools, strengthens social cohesion. It also strengthens and develops the motivation, commitment and internal ownership of teams. The performance of the organizations is becoming smart - more agile, more adaptable, more mobile – and that is increasing.

Heaven is here.

Oops, I have fallen off my web – strong, resistant but heavily dependent on its points of attachment. Hell consumes them after drying, Heaven consolidates them after enrichment. Between these two extremes, I dream - because yes, "I have a dream" too - of continuing to weave the internal corporate communications in such as manner as to definitively banish Hell and establish a Communication Heaven... a Heaven that people invented and that is modeled on their image. It is likely that corporate communication is morally neutral until human beings use it for a purpose, just like technology. So, whether it is Heaven or Hell is not, fundamentally, a question of limits or barriers but of ambition and vision, of transmitters and receivers and the way people use of the tools.

In the meantime, you can reach me at the other end of the line. Or from the Web.

About the author
Blog author serge henri saint michel 82x82

Serge-Henri saint-Michel

Strategic planning specialist Planning

Serge-Henri Saint-Michel, specialist in strategic planning, marketing and communication advises organizations www.marketing-pme.fr. It publishes the e-magazine leader and pure player of the marketing function, www.marketing-professionnel.fr.

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