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Internal communication in an agile world

One of the many reasons that old-school internal communication has passed far beyond its expiration date is the replacement of traditional hierarchy in organizations by something far more dynamic. Call it agile or self-directed teams or holacracy or whatever but the general direction is clear.

Traditional management, telling us how it is and how things should be done, is losing relevance fast. Teams have more freedom to bring their own perspectives to the table. Things have to move fast and in the right direction. Innovative solutions are created by colliding perspectives, like sub-atomic particles in an accelerator.

All this requires, from a communication perspective, at least three things: speed, multi-directional flow and openness. All of which are simply incompatible with old-school communication. Too one-directional, i.e. top-down. Too neatly designed like advertising campaigns. Too scripted with its pre-determined frames. And most of all, too much based on the premise of one, universal truth. No feedback expected, just cheers for the big leader’s vision.

What it all means for communication professionals is a shift in focus. Away from selling the undisputed truth towards the creation of a communication infrastructure which is supportive to agile ways of working. Enhancing people’s communications skills. Fostering a mindset and culture of openness, participation and supportiveness. Ensuring that collaborative technology adresses a variety of communication needs. Acting as a moderator of company-wide dialogue. In short: communicators needed who can build the world’s greatest ideas collider.

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