A New Twist on CommunicationPosted by Bradley Johnson in Business
I recently heard an interesting story about one step that a CIO took to help improve the communication within his internal team. Now, I’m not sure what the backstory was, but in the various technology teams I’ve been over the years, when organizational discussions turn to topics such as “how can we get better”, “what do we need to improve”, “how do we achieve our goals”, etc, they seem to boil down to a handful of key items. Communication always seems to be on this list and is also frequently listed as the partial (or full) cause of many IT problems that have occurred.
So what did the CIO in question do? He hired an Internal Communications Director for his organization. I don’t work at this company and don’t have the insight into what this person does on a daily basis or the goals for the position, but I would like to speculate on what having a Internal Communications Director might do for an IT organization…
How helpful would it be to technology projects and key initiatives to have someone that specifically focused on:
- Getting the right information to the right people at the right time (especially cross project) to make more informed decisions
- Letting everyone know what projects are being worked on and how they affect others so that cross team dependencies have the chance of surfacing earlier in than later.
- Keep the team informed on recent and upcoming organizational changes (how many times have you found out that Bob or Jane is no longer in charge of a group or is no longer with the company weeks or months after the change)
I know, it just sounds like an upper level project management thing or simple administrative tasks at this point, but the other side of a traditional Communication Director is that they manage external communications, aka Public Relations.
You could have a person helping you sell IT to your internal (and external) customers who is actually trained and has specific experience in this type of work. Maybe they could help you repair a damaged image / perception of your IT shop or keep you from making a LeBron “The Decision” PR mistake. They could also promote your agenda and help you get you message across effectively.
Many of these thing happen organically to some extent in most organizations, but having a person focused on making them happen might dramatically increase the chances of them being more effective. I don’t know if we’ll ever get to the point where we’ve solved the communication problems in IT, but hiring an Internal Communications Director sure seems to be an interesting step…