Definitely a home run! I was expecting a session dealing with classic internal organizational communication. Kem did that, but really focused on the huge differences between working as a communications professional in the corporate world, and working in the church.
Wow! She nailed with amazing clarity virtually all of the issues I've faced. I wish I'd had this seminar a year ago.
Kem identifies three reasons people don't want to work with the Communications Department.
- We are controlling.
- We don't have a clue what they do.
- We make their job harder and we get in the way of their ministry.
Someone I work with talks about "playing a long game." Kem's advice falls in with that philosophy. Change on a church staff takes time and care and willingness to invest in relationship. It is about getting in touch with emotions, not just providing information and policy. This fundamentally redefines the roll of the communications department as it pertains to the church.
Kem uses three questions to guide staff in evaluating communications projects.
- Is it a tool, or is it just cool? Speaks to being finding the objective behind the project and being purposeful about communications.
- What problem is this solving? Again, drive to the purpose and objective.
- What will happen (or won't happen) if we DON'T do it? Move the focus to outcomes. What behavior are we trying to influence?
Move slowly. Ask, don't tell. Create opportunities for providing genuine service to other ministry areas. Look for key people who do get it, and use them to create a win. Leverage that win. Look for opportunities to have conversation. Create opportunities for coaching. Policy doesn't create conversation. Guidelines and tips, not policy!
Traditional "Corporate Communications" tools like a stylebook and graphics standards are needed, but they are tools for the Communications Department, not other ministry areas. In the beginning they will close off conversation and close opportunities. Instead, look for ways to offer service and solve problems. Drive to objective and purpose by asking "What are you trying to do."
And probably my key takeaway... Create Less to Do more. Limit the projects on the table and always know what your capabilities are. It is OK to say no, but offer an alternative. Find the "Yes" behind the "No." Never take something away from a ministry without having something to give them back. "Can we try..." or "You know what we CAN do...."
Kem, you rock. And, don't kid yourself. You are scarey smart. Like I told you on Thursday, you need to write this. Can you say... "Simply Strategic Communications" ?