In company after company, the Communications department devolves into becoming the source of talking points and official versions.
No one believes these things anymore. Not the media, not influencers. Not employees, not customers. Not investors, not the general public. In fact, no one even has the patience to pretend to believe these things.
In short, Communications often still tries to function as if it were simply the Department of Secrets and Lies. Instead of protecting companies and organizations, Communications inadvertently erodes trust, from within and from without, creating a cloud of skeptical cynicism. All the carefully crafted messages, all the time and energy invested, and for naught.
In a world of mass media, mass message control seemed to work. That world has long since ended. Time to stop pretending.
Instead…what if we completely reimagined the purpose of the Communications function?
Instead of vain efforts to protect and prevent, Communications can work to meet the promise embedded in its name. It can help people within an organization communicate better.
Better communication means communicating with integrity and purpose. It means communicating with confidence and clarity. It means communicating with impact.
A better Communications function becomes a teaching function that gives people the skills to do those things well. It becomes a coaching and enabling function. New policies, new practices. New skills and new forms of leadership.
If everyone is equipped to communicate, then everyone can be entitled and entrusted to communicate.
Why? Better communication transforms organizations. It gives people agency. People with agency create value.
Conceived this way, Communications must transform as well. More than that, Communications can become a force that drives transformation.
To do this, Communications simply needs to step up to the task of loving truth, and let go of control. Its true value and true potential start there.