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Archive for March, 2010

Eric Meade is a Senior Vice President at the Institute for Alternative Futures. He will be presenting Persona to Psyche: Psychology of the Authentic Enterprise. Eric was interviewed by Les Landes of Landes & Associates.

1) Tell me about yourself and what you do.

As a futurist at the Institute for Alternative Futures, I help companies and non-profits place the decisions they are making today in a longer-term context.  I help them identify trends they could get ahead of, position themselves for success in a range of scenarios, foresee unintended consequences, and focus on the core values by which they would want to define themselves in any future.

For communications, it is worthwhile to look at how the field has evolved over the past, say, 100,000 years to highlight the qualitative changes that have taken place in the past and to understand changes that may await us in the future.

My futures work benefits from my range of experiences – as a sourcing executive in China, an entrepreneur, and a submarine officer.  I met my wife in China, where I lived for six years.  We have a 2½ year-old daughter.  My China experience, as well as my fluency in Mandarin, has been useful in qualifying both the excitement and the fears about China.  I’m open to a “Chinese century,” but I also know the issues standing between here and there.

2) What is one thing CCM Conference attendees will learn that they didn’t know before your presentation?

One key point is that individual psychological development recapitulates human evolution.  This point yields important insights about how change takes place in society.  Most of us can probably think back to a time in our lives when we felt totally adrift, but then one morning we woke up with a new sense of clarity about what we needed to do.  Just as our own lives fluctuate between chaos and order as we become wiser, society too can establish itself very quickly in a new paradigm – even at what seems to be the peak of chaos.  This gives us hope, but more importantly it tells us to be ready for changes we can only imagine today.  As communications managers grapple with globalization, the Internet, new stakeholder groups, a rising Millennial generation, and national policy debates that border on the absurd, they would be foolish to expect the future to be simply an extrapolation of the past.  In my session, I will describe a shift to what I call “post-modern” consciousness, a shift that will fundamentally change the world of communications.

3) After your session, what will attendees be able to immediately bring back to their job and implement?

With the longer-term perspective presented in my session, communications managers will be able to identify the most important conversations that their companies need to have.  These conversations will involve not just internal and external communications, but the entirety of the company’s operations.  The Page Society report, The Authentic Enterprise, highlights that CEO’s want their communications managers to be more integrated into strategy; my session will offer a higher value proposition that communications managers can offer.  Attendees will also possess an antidote to the point of view that says, “I know human nature and it never changes.”

4) What’s in your crystal ball for “What’s Next” in Communications for 2010 and beyond?

Over the next few years, we will reach the tipping point of a global shift toward “post-modern” consciousness that is self-reflective – e.g., it can step aside from its own strategies and look at itself from the outside in.  This shift – or its individual manifestations, like globalization, the Internet, or new stakeholder groups – is nothing to fear.  Rather, it offers tremendous opportunities for society, companies, and communications managers.  But there’s a catch.  Just as a self-reflective individual has difficulty lying to himself, a self-reflective global society will have an unspoken rule: No secrets, no lies.  The distinction between “external” and “internal” communications will soon be a thing of the past.  Those who cling to the distinction and its implications for strategy will find themselves increasingly criticized and censured by an increasing number of stakeholders.  Conversely, those who unify their companies’ internal and external messages and integrate them with the company’s operations will say what needs to be said and will be rewarded for their ability to do so.

Eric Meade is a Senior Vice President at the Institute for Alternative Futures. He will be presenting Persona to Psyche: Psychology of the Authentic Enterprise. Eric was interviewed by Les Landes of Landes & Associates.

1) Tell me about yourself and what you do. (Including where to find more information, if applicable)

· As a futurist at the Institute for Alternative Futures (www.altfutures.com), I help companies and non-profits place the decisions they are making today in a longer-term context.  I help them identify trends they could get ahead of, position themselves for success in a range of scenarios, foresee unintended consequences, and focus on the core values by which they would want to define themselves in any future.

· For communications, it is worthwhile to look at how the field has evolved over the past, say, 100,000 years to highlight the qualitative changes that have taken place in the past and to understand changes that may await us in the future.

· My futures work benefits from my range of experiences – as a sourcing executive in China, an entrepreneur, and a submarine officer.  I met my wife in China, where I lived for six years.  We have a 2½ year-old daughter.  My China experience, as well as my fluency in Mandarin, has been useful in qualifying both the excitement and the fears about China.  I’m open to a “Chinese century,” but I also know the issues standing between here and there.

2) What is one thing CCM Conference attendees will learn that they didn’t know before your presentation?

  • One key point is that individual psychological development recapitulates human evolution.  This point yields important insights about how change takes place in society.  Most of us can probably think back to a time in our lives when we felt totally adrift, but then one morning we woke up with a new sense of clarity about what we needed to do.  Just as our own lives fluctuate between chaos and order as we become wiser, society too can establish itself very quickly in a new paradigm – even at what seems to be the peak of chaos.  This gives us hope, but more importantly it tells us to be ready for changes we can only imagine today.  As communications managers grapple with globalization, the Internet, new stakeholder groups, a rising Millennial generation, and national policy debates that border on the absurd, they would be foolish to expect the future to be simply an extrapolation of the past.  In my session, I will describe a shift to what I call “post-modern” consciousness, a shift that will fundamentally change the world of communications.

3) After your session, what will attendees be able to immediately bring back to their job and implement?

  • With the longer-term perspective presented in my session, communications managers will be able to identify the most important conversations that their companies need to have.  These conversations will involve not just internal and external communications, but the entirety of the company’s operations.  The Page Society report, The Authentic Enterprise, highlights that CEO’s want their communications managers to be more integrated into strategy; my session will offer a higher value proposition that communications managers can offer.  Attendees will also possess an antidote to the point of view that says, “I know human nature and it never changes.”

4) What’s in your crystal ball for “What’s Next” in Communications for 2010 and beyond?

  • Over the next few years, we will reach the tipping point of a global shift toward “post-modern” consciousness that is self-reflective – e.g., it can step aside from its own strategies and look at itself from the outside in.  This shift – or its individual manifestations, like globalization, the Internet, or new stakeholder groups – is nothing to fear.  Rather, it offers tremendous opportunities for society, companies, and communications managers.  But there’s a catch.  Just as a self-reflective individual has difficulty lying to himself, a self-reflective global society will have an unspoken rule: No secrets, no lies.  The distinction between “external” and “internal” communications will soon be a thing of the past.  Those who cling to the distinction and its implications for strategy will find themselves increasingly criticized and censured by an increasing number of stakeholders.  Conversely, those who unify their companies’ internal and external messages and integrate them with the company’s operations will say what needs to be said and will be rewarded for their ability to do so.
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Cynthia Forstman is co-founder and partner at Allegory Studios. She runs their Rocky Mountain office in Eagle, Colorado. Cynthia was interviewed by Teryl O’Keefe of The O’Keefe Group.

1) Tell us about yourself and what you do.

We help organizations tell their stories in new and powerful ways through the framework of Jungian archetypes.  Whether they are building a brand, launching an employee initiative, establishing a new vision, or merging with another company, archetypes can provide a blueprint for meaningful messages.

You can learn more about the application archetypes in organizations by reading “The Hero and the Outlaw” by Carol Pearson, Ph.D.  An organizational development specialist, Pearson developed a survey tool for assessing organizational culture against twelve Jungian archetypes.

2) What is one thing CCM Conference attendees will learn that they didn’t know before your presentation?

This is planned as an interactive session. Attendees will complete a “mini culture audit” that helps them identify which archetypal stories and characters are prominent in their organizations. An archetypal profile provides insight into the unwritten rules of engagement, from values and strengths to people, processes and progress.

Participants will get to “try on” these stories to experience how the culture of their organization might influence choices about the format, style, and content of their communications initiatives.

3) After your session, what will attendees be able to immediately bring back to their job and implement?

Archetypes can provide common ground for understanding and communication. The applications can be far-reaching, helping organizations:

  • Recruit and empower effective leaders;
  • Create a positive future vision that resonates with employees;
  • Facilitate smooth mergers and acquisitions;
  • Assess change readiness;
  • Discover and build a compelling brand identity;
  • Spread your message to new regions;
  • Improve internal communications and teamwork; and more.

4) “What’s Next” in Communications for 2010 and beyond?

With all of the channels for modern-day messaging, I sometimes think we are just cluttering the universe with noise. People get lost in the constant stream of communications.

I believe ‘what’s next’ in communications ought to be less technical and more human, less corporate and more meaningful, less attention-getting and more poignant.

While we continue to gain ground in our ability to reach people wherever they are, we only connect with people when we speak to the heart.

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Conference attendees get quite the steal when they book their hotel room by April 2, 2010. Instead of the standard Four Seasons room rate of $395.00, attendees pay only $185.00, and this rate applies through the weekend!

The Four Seasons Philadelphia is an exquisite hotel in an exquisite Philadelphia setting, the Parkway Museums District. You’ll look out onto lovely Logan Circle and its Swann Memorial Fountain and be in walking distance of The Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Sciences, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as well Kelley Drive and Boathouse Row.

If culture isn’t your thing, not to fear. Philadelphia’s European-like Rittenhouse Square, with its high-end shopping and fabulous restaurants is also a short walk from the hotel.

Call 215.963.1500 for reservations.

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Chris Thornton is the Senior Manager, OIM Communications, Deloitte. He joins us here as part of our “Four questions for…” speaker series. And he’ll be joining us in Philadelphia to lead the pre-conference workshop: How leaders can sustain employee engagement during times of change. This workshop is being held on Wednesday, May 5 from 9:00-12:00 pm. Registration is $99.00. Register now to secure your space.

Now, to Chris.

1) Give us a little background about you… How did you get into communication?

I started my career teaching high school speech and theater, so a focus on communication was always there. From there, I moved into a quality process system development position, which was the best thing I could have done professionally. Understanding what information people need to change the way they work, honoring what people lose because of change…those were important things to learn very early in my career. Certainly, the major event that influenced my communication work was working at Arthur Andersen during the Enron scandal. Helping leaders communicate when all of our jobs were on the line was thrilling, terrifying, depressing, and ultimately led me deeper into leader and change comms.

2)  And what does Chris do when you’re not communicating Change?

I cook a lot. My wife and I have three young children, and once the kids are in bed, we try to make a really good meal for ourselves. Cooking is therapy, and a little wine never hurts.

3)  The term change has become quite ubiquitous for many every day communication initiatives, what is one thing communicators can do to provide immediate value?

Have a repeatable process to communicate change. Every change is unique, of course, but people need to know the same type of information no matter what is happening. Having the repeatable process allows me to improvise as needed but also know that we’re moving toward the business goals of the change.

4) Give us a little amuse-bouche of your workshop. What are two mistakes/assumptions leaders often make when trying to lead large organizational change?

Some leaders wear their change battle scars on their sleeves. “I’ve survived (insert a number) reorgs, downsizings, mergers (fill in another change event), so I know how to do this.” While I always respect that experience, another part of me is looking to see if the leader knows how to lead her people effectively through the change, or if she only knows how to survive. I’m looking for specific leader behaviors, not just institutional knowledge from the person.

The other mistake I’ve encountered is when a leader looks across the table and says, “Tell me what you’re going to communicate.” When I hear that, I always respond with “Tell me what you’re going to do.” I won’t fall into the trap of allowing leaders to abdicate their position and responsibilities and hand it over to the function of communications. I’ve done that in past, and people get hurt. Promises and platitudes that aren’t supported by action destroy trust and kill productivity.

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