Stop Messaging, Start Communicating

Happy New Year to One and All.

This post looks at what has happened to communication in the workplace. It argues that we must stop using electronic and digital mechanisms as a substitute for, or an easy way to avoid, more meaningful communication.


  • There has been an explosion in the number of mechanisms and channels we can use to contact other people;
  • The desire to avoid ‘difficult’ interactions with other people is not a product of this explosion, but it has been greatly facilitated by it;
  • We are increasingly using electronic and digital means to convey messages which should be delivered in person;
  • This is leading to relationship breakdowns in the workplace, and is helping to loosen the already frayed bonds between people and their organisations;
  • Research suggests that teenagers – the next generation of leaders and managers – already prefer texting to voice or face-to-face conversation, as they can avoid ‘messy’ and uncontrolled interaction by doing so;
  • The task of leadership cannot be accomplished if we continually avoid dealing with real people in real time;
  • Leaders need to challenge their motives for using electronic and digital mechanisms so freely: avoiding interaction with people is a negation of leadership.

I am really very interested in readers’ stories and reflections on this subject. Please email or, better still, leave a comment here for other readers to see.

Tuition Fees: Power and Promises

This post looks at promises in relation to power and leadership.


  • The LibDem leadership has spectacularly back-tracked on pre-election pledges to abolish university tuition fees;
  • Opinion varies as to whether this involves any real wrong-doing;
  • Pragmatists urge Clegg to think hard about future manifesto promises and to always shape future policy for power-sharing;
  • This implies abandoning the party’s ‘dreams’ (perhaps another word for ‘vision’?) and being ‘realistic’;
  • Idealists cannot reconcile themselves to the broken promises;
  • Moral outrage leads them to call for another election, in which manifesto promises are better scrutinised, but they struggle to muster a ‘killer’ argument against the LibDem leadership’s actions;
  • By using good leadership principles and practice as a bench-mark we can evaluate the longer term impact of the u-turn on the LibDem organisation, and on the political environment in which it operates;
  • Assessed using these criteria, the LibDem leadership is found seriously wanting, and has fallen well short of its leadership responsibilities;
  • The damaging material consequences of its actions might not be fully felt for some time;
  • Only a very short-term, self-serving view can draw any comfort from this lag between cause and effect. 

This post is presented in sections. See page 2 for a list of the main section headings.

WikiLeaks: Challenging Attitudes to Transparency


In this post the WikiLeaks saga is reviewed and lessons for change leadership identified. The main messages are:

  • The main casualty to date of the WikiLeaks affair is the US government’s careful orchestration of international perception;
  • The tension between what we say in public and think in private is not just an issue in international diplomacy;
  • In business, this tension emerges clearly in times of change;
  • Leaders often decline to tell it like it is because they prefer to avoid conflict and challenge;
  • These are not good reasons to simply play the game: ‘shadow’ change programmes develop, where all the important decisions are made and deals are done behind the scenes;
  • This does not advance the cause of best practice in delivering change;
  • Sometimes a more transparent and direct approach is simply more efficient and effective.

This post is presented in pages 1-9: please see below to navigate to specific page numbers. Headings are on page 2.

Please comment on this post whether you agree or not with the messages.