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June 25, 2019


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Have a similar dislike for the concept but a different take: https://changingtheterms.com/2016/09/

Great minds think alike even when they don't! Another great take, Mike.

WIIFM is a blockheaded over-simplicity, perhaps well-meaning in its origin, as communicators tried to remind out-of-touch corporate bosses that what was good for General Motors wasn't necessarily good for (or fascinating to) every front-line factory worker.

But even GM's bosses know that by now ... don't they?

In reporting company news, I agree, there is no need to consider why an employee should care. When communicating, say, organizational change, it's another matter. This goes far being simple reporting. You have an ask, a call to action. The company wants something from the employee and usually, there's some pain or sacrifice involved. Helping employees understand the benefit of supporting the change is essential. Carrying the example further, a one-size-fits-all communication is rarely useful, since what's in it for a headquarters executive is likely to be different than what's in it for someone who goes down into a mine every day, leading to the need for a communication strategy rather than just publishing an article that outlines the change and asks everyone to get on board. That need is also supported by the fact that different employees will have different reasons to resist the change. Again, in this kind of circumstance, it's clear that addressing the WIIFM is a requirement.

Point taken, but of course I'm not telling companies to AVOID helping employees see how they benefit personally from a change, for instance. But I'm telling them employees—like executives, we'd hope—have a broader view than "me."

Coal miners being furloughed may have a hard time summoning give-a-fucks about the global economy (although I think they DO understand these market forces better than they get credit for).

But when you're communicating to them, you would rightly assume that they care about how the change will affect their colleagues, their families, their communities, their way of life, their cultural tradition and even their dead ancestors in the cemetery. (How often do you hear, "Daddy would be rolling in his grave if he could see this.")

Their Paradise, and Prine put it:


And to sum up their interest, whatever your motivation for doing so, as simply a self-interested WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME—I think that's insulting, however unintentionally.

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