#encompassproject – bring on the community

by Isabel Wu

It’s a risky topic, ‘strategic communication’.  Too many times we have experienced the rounds of ‘strategic communication’ that ends up being an impenetrable garble of consultant-speak or heartily expounded calls to arms to achieve goals that bear no resemblance to the daily work of most of the audience.

Strategic communication is an intricate process of masterfully breaking down an agenda to turn it into messages that are ‘pushed’ out through a delivery system that will result in people taking a particular course of desired action but when it comes to internal communications many organisations seem to spend most of their efforts on the higher-up agenda and expectations of changed behaviour.  Far less effort is spent on breaking down the agenda so that the messages are relevant to the different audiences, and on devising delivery systems that enhance the message and its acceptance.  For instance it is invariably assumed that the dissemination of information should be top-down and that emails or group meetings are the best forums..

You may have seen a version of this joke before:

Memo from CEO to General Manager:

Today at 11 o’clock there will be a total eclipse of the sun. This is when the sun disappears behind the moon for two minutes. As this is something that cannot be seen every day, time will be allowed for employees to view the eclipse in the car park. Staff should meet in the car park at ten to eleven, when I will deliver a short speech introducing the eclipse, and giving some background information. Safety goggles will be made available at a small cost.

Memo from General Manager to Department Manager:

Today at ten to eleven, all staff should meet in the car park. This will be followed by a total eclipse of the sun, which will disappear for two minutes. For a moderate cost, this will be made safe with goggles. The CEO will deliver a short speech beforehand to give us all some background information. This is not something that can be seen every day.

Memo from Department Manager to Supervisor:

The CEO will today deliver a short speech before the sun disappears for two minutes in an eclipse. This is something that cannot be seen every day, so staff will meet in the car park at ten or eleven. This will be safe, if you pay a moderate cost.

Memo From Supervisor to Team Leader:

Ten or eleven staff are to go to the car park, where the CEO will make the sun disappear for two minutes. This doesn’t happen every day. It will be safe, but it will cost you.

Memo from Team Leader to Employees:

Some staff will go to the car park today to see the CEO disappear. It is a pity this doesn’t happen every day.

The word ‘communication’ is derived from the Latin noun communicatio , which meant a sharing or imparting.  ‘Communicatio’ descended from ‘communis’ (common, public), the same root word from which comes ‘communitatem’, Latin for community, society, fellowship.

As community-building is at the heart of the #encompassproject the strategic communication program needs to achieve the essential meaning of the word in its purest form: mutual exchanges between people listening and speaking.  In today’s world this is a far easier objective – at least technically.  The profusion of low or no cost software platforms provides the means by which Encompass Community Services could develop its very own television ‘channel’: Encompass TV.

Encompass TV will be video content created for and by the Encompass Community.  Whether the content originates from management, from the news, from staff, clients, families or the broader community its purpose is not to tell but to engage.  A small team has been working on content for its inaugural launch this Thursday March 27.  I can’t wait to post a link from this blog so everyone can see it!

I think they should call the channel enTV – it has a certain ring!

Communication