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Monday, August 17, 2009
Intent, messaging, action

The current POTUS was acknowledged to have won the election, among other factors, by his messaging. His speeches were at a different level from the rest of the candidates, and that captivated the audience. After his victory, and a series of good action that complied to his intents that he vocalized during the campaign, things are starting to falter a bit now.

His current push for health insurance reform has been one hurdle after another. Messaging, and even the phrasing of the reform has to be changed constantly. It was only till the point that he took to the roads again that the first “good news”, or '”local support”, was reported. It also appears that folks were pushing back on something that they do not really understand, or that the original messaging was so flawed that educated folks do not really understand it enough to explain to the non-educated folks.

That’s a (un)pleasant corollary to some of the confusion that’s arising about the intent messaging, and actions with the new change.

Prior to the change, there were some efforts by a non-biased panel to gather feedback about what worked, what didn’t worked in the prior regime. One very vocal point was raised, and was even agreed upon by one of the panelist. How ironic it is to find out that the first action by the panelist after the change was to perform the same exact action that was a known irritant to the org. I wonder if the intent or the action could have been messaged to the org?

With the change come some new channels of communication with the management. There’s always pros and cons to it. A major pro would be the fact that I get to provide direct feedback that used to be a skip-skip-skip level discussion, which in the past meant all “skipped” levels folks actually joined in the discussion. Kind of defeats the purpose of a skip-level then, but that’s in the past. With the new structure, and the initial confusion about who should be doing what in terms of the management team, i gave some frank feedback. Clearly (pun intended), i didn’t do a good job myself. My feedback was taken seriously and remediate action was taken pretty promptly to explain the new structure to us, but with the explanation came a few more points of confusion and dissatisfaction.

Today, my immediate org team met for an official team meeting. The new manager tends to speak too much, which he acknowledges as well. 8). Hopefully, he’ll know to tone that down, and let the team talk more. Otherwise, i wouldn’t be surprised if people start to tune him out.

The interesting discussions came when we met up for an informal lunch with most of the org team members. Issues, opinions, and thoughts were shared and i think it was generally a good exchange, and time well spent. The topics discussed ranged from the current confusion of the new org structure, to long ongoing cross-org issues, to career development etc. Wouldn’t the management team be willing to be a “fly in the wall” during the discussions to hear what we really think of.

Another common issue that i am observing is that due to the feedback on the prior regime, the current team is trying to do drastic changes. Some of the purported changes seems to be “designed” for certain teams. The lack of clarity around the messaging rooted some ideas that might be a distraction for some.

A recent meeting brought up the topic of soft-skill training, such as vendor account management skills. I can see the good intent behind it, though the broad brush to apply it to the immediate org team seems to ignore the different experience that each team member might have. That, reluctantly, puzzled me as well. Given the constant issues with the lack of clarity in terms of the messaging, the intent, or the action made, perhaps the management team also need to look at the possibility of doing some training themselves on messaging, or team communication?

Again, it’ll be interesting to see how the changes develop. Unlike some of the team members whom are very excited and boldly claiming a whole new world, I’ve seen enough through the years to be (very) mildly optimistic, but realistically cautious.

posted by Jonathan at 9:58 PM | Permalink |