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April 09, 2014


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Wow, that's a bit of a thrashing. Mike Klien looks entirely realistic in the sense that business is business, internal Communicators are sponsored by people who are driven to make money and very often their decisions and the work environments they create (that are often much more influential that IC) in which IC contributes, are not all 'good'.

So David, who are you kidding? Being an effective IC professional is an achievement not just to the economy but personally. Bringing more is even better. Do you think your audiences would say you bring goodness to the organisation, or value? Must be hard to get a good performance review from you!


Thank you for your post--I have never been called a philosopher before, which I take as a compliment even if you find my philosophical musings a bit "tortured".

I also find your logic a bit tortured as well. You mock my aspiration of becoming "an effective practitioner". But you make no effort to unpack my definition of what an effective practitioner is.

Perhaps this is something I should have done in my own post. But, better late than never, here it goes:

I want my work to make a difference--that is what I mean by being "effective."

I want my contributions to deliver real impact, impact that moves forward the objectives of the people for whom I work in a substantial way. Lindsay is right in her characterization of those objectives as often being more financial than moral in nature.

Can one do this sustainably by being a jerk, being unpleasant, unethical, anti-democratic or uncommitted? No.

I make every attempt to be the opposite of those things in my work, and in my engagement with the profession. But I am more motivated by desire for impact, than for my impact to be an expression of the purity of my motives.

As for my epitaph: my real goal, more than any other, is to empower my colleagues to make an impact, to demonstrate the value of what we do, and to create a climate where we as a species are recognized on a par with our peers from the more technical and numerical disciplines in the workplace.

That's why I engage with you, with IABC, with the profession, and with my peers and colleagues across business disciplines. That's why I put out some stuff that may be work-in-progress, to spark some discussion and refinement, that could help move my goal towards fruition.

But, given your post, perhaps I could be more effective.


@Lindsay: I didn't mean to give Mike a thrashing. I meant to join him in the kind of vigorous debate that few of our colleagues any longer have the stomach for--or the mind, for that matter.

Any hostility that I express is aimed not at Mike specifically but at ALL communications people who feel the need to declaim any moral aspect to their work. Simply, I don't understand their need to make such a point, unless perhaps they are trying to impress clients by showing that, just like the CFO, all they're out to do in the end is make the company money.

The point I'm making is subtle, in a way. In fact, I wouldn't bother to make it at all ... if Mike hadn't felt the need (again, as others often do) to point out that he is NOT trying to use communication to improve LIFE for the PEOPLE in and around the organization he works for.

Instead, he chooses to airlessly explain that the reason he may APPEAR to be a good guy is that he believes that being a good guy is the best way to make the company a bigger profit.

Of course communicators try to help the company succeed. But they, unlike IT people or accountants, have the power to help the organization and its leaders and its people be more democratic, more candid, more fair. Why should they pretend such an influence is an accidental byproduct? Why can't they admit: Yes, I hope to do some fucking good along the way!

Mike sez: "my real goal, more than any other, is to empower my colleagues to make an impact, to demonstrate the value of what we do, and to create a climate where we as a species are recognized on a par with our peers from the more technical and numerical disciplines in the workplace."

So your driving goal, if I can break this down, is simply to get communicators more respect from the business goons. Is that why you hide your idealism in your inside jacket pocket? Because you don't want those business goons to see that you're really cut from the same journalism/political cloth that's the original soul of employee communications?

Tell me, Mike (it's just us; no business goons allowed at Writing Boots): How is that working?

To adapt a phrase from a famous Chicagoan from the Silver Screen, "he pulls out a knife, and you pull out a....goon?"

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