Why ‘why’ can be such a powerful and essential question…
by an anonymous guest blogger
The question I most frequently ask as someone working in internal comms is “why?” “We need to put this statement on SharePoint.” Why? “The Director has written a blog post.” Why? “I need to send an email to all staff.” Why?
Sometimes it starts a great creative conversation, and when we get down to exactly what outcome we’re hoping for that can sometimes spark some fantastic original ideas. But most of the time I get one answer: to raise awareness.
I want to ban internal awareness-raising campaigns.
To be clear, I don’t want to ban awareness-raising. I just want to ban people from using awareness-raising as a catch-all term to justify why we need to communicate internally.
Instead we need to know why we need to raise awareness and focus on that.
Here’s a quick example. Person A has written a blog post talking about their role – what their work involves, how they fit into the wider department, and what service they can offer colleagues.
“Because they want to raise awareness of their team.”
We could send it out, and it could be read by all out staff. But will that solve the problem?
We don’t know, because we don’t know what the problem is.
If we ban raising awareness then we couldn’t accept that as a reason to proceed, so we’d be forced to dig further. Why does Person A want to raise awareness? Is it because they have a specific service they want colleagues to engage with? Is it an internal recruitment campaign and they’re touting for new team members? Is it because colleagues are turning to other departments in certain situations when they should be turning to them?
Once we’ve figured out Person A’s true objective, we can work out the best way to achieve it.
So why have I written this?
Of course banning is a little radical and not a genuine option for most of us, but I'd love to hear people's thoughts - how do you combat being presented with the objective of raising awareness - whether internally or externally? How do you get people to focus?
Please share your thoughts and ideas via the @comms2point0 Twitter.
If there are some effective ways to get people to think about why they’re doing what they’re doing and what their ultimate goal is that we can share with each other, I think we’d all be a lot more productive as a result.
image via Tullio Saba