Ungeeked: How it will influence my campus’ internal communication strategy
Posted on May 16, 2011
Last week I attended Ungeeked Elite Chicago. Even though it was my second ungeeked event in 365 days (I attended Milwaukee 2010), the retreat was in no way repetitive.
Over the next few days (realistically: weeks) I’ll dive into the highlights of the retreat from my perspective. I don’t expect to love all 24 ungeeked discussions. In fact, I consider the retreat a success if 5-10 discussions resonate with me. That’s ok, because the retreat is just as much about giving as it is receiving; I know I’ll help other attendees brainstorm ideas for their business or employer, and other times I’ll be the recipient of the collective knowledge of the room. As a whole, ungeeked is 2/2 when it comes to renewing my passion for the work I do and expanding my hopes for the future.
Without further adieu, my first highlight is Sam Fiorella‘s discussion on building internal and external communities.
Confession: I sort of glazed over the external communities part. He had some good content, but the internal community discussion is what really resonated with me. Specifically, his point about expectations of the millennial generation was directly applicable to my work on a college campus. Sam said, “Millennials raised to be collaborators with their parents, teachers and peers are now looking for leaders who will collaborate with them to create meaning in what they do.” How many of your new hires are millennials? If you bring them into a traditional hierarchical organization that squashes their ideas in favor of the management/leaderships, they’ll get frustrated and leave. I’d argue that this is the case for many of the GenXers I work with as well.
What am I going to do about this? Well, I think I can address it through one of my job responsibilities, which is the creation, execution and management of an internal communication plan for the campus. Through discussion, attendees outlined a strategy to do enhance internal communication networks:
- Get a group of colleagues around a table and ask them what they like/don’t like about the communication practices of the organization. I’d argue you should do this multiple times, with multiple groups. Try groups that are flat across the organizational chart, as well as varied levels in the hierarchy.
- This is your starting place to build an internal communication structure, whether it’s online or offline. However, if your goal is an intranet, it NEEDS to start with face to face meetings. Anyone who’s not comfortable using a wiki or Sharepoint site is not going to start participating because they receive an email telling them to do so.
- Build a healthy choice for counter-culture. Let people speak their mind freely, without fear of retribution. This will lead to innovation and elevated ideas from the entry-level ranks.
I’m going to use this framework to work with our incoming CEO to assess current culture, identify our communication goals, and give everyone in the organization (including students) a voice in the operation of our organization. We’re mandated by state law to have a shared governance structure, so I think this is a great framework to support that outside of meetings governed by parliamentary procedure.
Up next: David Murray‘s discussion of the content bubble.