Organizational communication isn’t always the most scintillating topic, but it is almost always predictable. Thus, I was taken aback in recent weeks by a number of articles that seem to advocate steps that just a few short years ago might have been the equivalent of career suicide. In some companies, they still might be.
No question that the world would be a better place if organizations truly functioned in the ways described, but I’m skeptical that many do. Three cases in point:
Reporting on a session from the International Association of Business Communicators World Conference, for SmartBlog on Leadership, Miri Zena McDonald tells us how to “Create a Workplace Where Truth Can Reign” – an accomplishment not often seen, in my experience. The speaker, Linda Dulye of Dulye & Company, helps develop what she calls “spectator-free” workplaces – organizations where everyone is obligated to speak up and tell the truth. Really.
If you follow me on Twitter (@bzhenry), you know that I’ve made content curation in organizational communication a hobby. This blog post highlights the best of what I’ve read in recent weeks.
On the HBR Blog Network, author Dorie Clark urges, “Come Out of the Closet at Work, Whether You’re Gay or Not.” Referring to Anderson Cooper’s recent disclosure that he is gay, Clark posits that the best answer may be for all of us simply to erase the division between public and private when it comes to important personal information. She argues that expectations in the corporate world are changing fast; consequently, it’s time for all of us to come out of our respective closets, whatever they may be. Good advice, or a career-limiting move?
Also on the HBR Blog Network, Umair Haque urges the reader to “Declare Your Radicalness.” His point: We’ve become a nation of “incrementalists” – never moving very far from the status quo. He suggests that rather than merely calling for a set of broken institutions to work slightly better or to restore the present to the state of the past, we need to redefine “better” – to redesign the future. This is the ideal, but I’m skeptical that it could be the reality.
Just as I was beginning to suspect that I had left Kansas in favor of the Wonderful World of Oz, I found the article, “Less-Confident People Are More Successful,” by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic. This seems a little more like the world as I know it. People who are not highly confident in their own abilities pay more attention to negative feedback, are motivated to be better prepared and to work harder, and seem less arrogant than their highly confident counterparts. The author concludes that high self-confidence isn’t a blessing; low self-confidence isn’t a curse. I surmise that these “less-confident people” are less likely to blaze the trails outlined in the first three articles and, consequently, more likely to be successful.
Three more good reads
- On change management: “Transition Lessons From Chicago’s Transit Upheaval,” Liz Larsen, writing on the Fast Company blog.
- On creativity: Also on the Fast Company blog, “The Second City Way of Better Brainstorming,” by Denis Wilson.
- On storytelling: “Storyteller-in-Chief,” by Robert Holland, in Communication at Work.