About the bloggers

 Dan Gray is an MBA-qualified consultant with over 10 years’ experience in brand strategy and engagement, bringing an eclectic mix of left- and right-brain thinking to how clients can achieve brand-led business transformation. A passionate advocate for simplicity, sustainability and systems thinking, he’s also the author of Live Long and Prosper: the 55-Minute Guide to Building Sustainable Brands (part of a series created with fellow Commscrummer, Kevin Keohane) and a Visiting Fellow of the Ashridge Centre for Business and Sustainability.

Kevin Keohane has 20 years experience in brand and employee communication and is a Partner at BrandPie in London.  He built and led the “Brand and Talent” global employee communication practice for Publicis’s MS&L Group of companies as a client partner at London agency SAS.  His clients include Barclays Capital, BP, BT, Coca-Cola, KPMG, Linedata, Syngenta and others. He is the author of The Talent Journey: the 55-Minute Guide to Employee Communications.  Come say HI on LinkedIn.

Mike Klein combines over a decade in employee communications working with British, American and European organizations with a prior ten-year career as a political consultant working in ten US states.  Now Brussels-based, Mike has a zeal for recognizing the role of employees and customers as advocates, and in building effective social and networked communication strategies within organizations. One of several co-authors of the Gower Handbook of Internal Communication, Mike is an MBA graduate of London Business School, where his attempt to take up rugby met with injury in his first–and final–competitive match.

Lindsay Uittenbogaard has a background in business management and moved into International Communication 10 years ago.  She has since worked with Shell, Unilever, PDO Oman and T-Systems and is currently based in The Hague.  Winner of a Gold Award at the International Film and Video festival for corporate film direction (1999) and longest No. 1 MyRaganTV spot holder with a short film on the IABC in the Netherlands (2007), Lindsay was also recently published in the Gower Handbook of Internal Communication (2008).  For articles see www.lindsaybogaard.co.uk.

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11 thoughts on “About the bloggers

  1. fran melmed says:

    great to have some fresh voices to hear from.

    f

  2. Susan Walker says:

    Great to be able to join in the conversation – my favourite quote is “if you have always done it that way, it must be wrong” Am currently writing a book for Gower which started as comms measurement but widening by the day as finding different fresh ways of gaining intelligence rather than just stats (although the latter will continue to have value.) Any thoughts about why internal research fails and where it should be going will be welcome!
    Susan

    • commscrum says:

      Internal research generally fails due to an internal propensity to ask the wrong questions, particularly to ensure a more favorable positioning of the results…

      Mike Klein
      http://intersectionblog.wordpress.com

      • Sean Trainor says:

        I agree Mike, how often are we surpised by the results of surveys? Often questions are only asked when we know the answers. Be honest Susan, how many times did you fall off your seat in your 10 years at MORI?
        I believe there are two inherent problems with comms surveys:-
        1. No correlation with business results, so measures become self-fulfilling (bums on seats at briefings, message recall) and buy-in often relies on the esoteric view that good comms = good business; a hard sell for hard-nosed business leaders.
        2. Ironically poor survey comms (pre-, mid- and post- fieldwork) that fly in the face of good comms practice. Taking these in order:-
        (a)pre-fieldwork comms: typically “your opinion counts” ” everyone’s response is confidential” and a bit about process (RELEVANT?)
        (b)mid-fieldwork comms: typically “final countdown” “last chance” and irrelevant incentives like “we are now donating money for every response to our corporate charity” coupled with pressurising managers to canvass locally (HONEST?)
        (c)post-fieldwork comms: typically very late and defensive, pulling out the positives and top 2/3 priorities that the “business” needs to look at. (9 times out of 10 “managers need to take more responsibility for communications”) (TIMELY?)
        In summary, surveys tend to be perceived as “throwing stones from glasshouses” or in the words of Paul Simon “a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest”
        Alternative? Send the researchers into the business for 6 months and get them to realise first hand where it all goes wrong.

  3. susanewalker says:

    Thanks for these responses Mike and Sean – agree with most points although I think it is only fair to say that some organisations do great research. (and not sure that 6 months for researchers in the business is a practical proposition – and surely the mark of a communicator – and should be of a researcher – that they are able to understand and interpret though people’s feedback or, for example, interiews).

    Anyway, I do believe that the traditional employes survey often no longer meets business needs but will stagger on for the moment as it is a fave of the HR department. I have started a blog about writing my book – and would also like to make this a conversation so hope OK Mike and Sean if I include your comments in my next blog which is on:
    http://commevaluation.wordpress.com/
    please join in!!
    Susan

    • Sean Trainor says:

      Susan, happy for you to use my comments, I’m also happy to bore you to tears with my experience of the strengths and weaknesses of Q12 if it helps with your book. Good luck with that, Sean

    • Kevin says:

      Susan, while you are writing abook for gower you should write the 55-minute version for me and Dan at Verb… See http://www.55minuteguides.com … and drop me a line!

      • susanewalker says:

        Like the idea – ned to check with Gower re copyright etc but assume that if I focus on the strategic side will be OK…the main message being that the enormous annual employee survey no longer meets today’s business needs and we need to be using not only a wider range of tools but also more strategic thinking and alignment with the business…

        Re Guru/business books – agree that sometimes one is wadign through masses of detail (sometimes a “story” as though to children) to come to the one line nugget of useful advice….
        Rgds
        Susan

  4. commscrum says:

    Having had a survey research and political campaign background before going into internal comms, I know two main things first-hand:

    1) Most good survey tools do an excellent job of finding the answers one is looking for.

    2) Some of those answers are used to illuminate the path to future decisions, and others are used to validate decisions already made.

    Am happy to discuss for your new book–let’s set up a chat.

    Mike Klein–The Intersection, Brussels
    http://intersectionblog.wordpress.com

  5. My favourite research of all time was the approach taken by a former supermarket CEO who never asked customers or staff for more than “one thing we can do to improve the way we do things round here”.

    It’s a cliche I know but still holds true that “you measure what you treasure”. Looked at another way, what you measure signals what’s important – so the very act of measurement is communicating a great deal. The people undertaking the surveys often forget that….but the people receiving them don’t.

    There are a number of allegedly big hitting IC critics who claim that measurement is pointless. They include my old colleague John Smythe. But if you’ve been on the defending end of a hostile takeover, sudden downsize or VC intervention, the importance of measurement is a lesson never forgotten.

    Reading the postings here though, the cynicism is striking. Imagine this reflects the dark times we’re facing. It also reminds me of how the future of IC is entwined with the future of HR. IC measurement is so often tarred with the HR brush and therefore the importance it’s afforded rises and falls in the face of the latest shennanigans of “Catbert – the evil HR Director”!

    For what it’s worth, Susan, I say:

    – make sure you measure and take as much of the organisation development measurement ground as you can capture
    – understand what’s gone before and consult before asking the questions (if you catch my drift)
    – keep it as simple as you can
    – use a blend of delivery platforms
    – do it little and often
    – follow up
    – ensure you’re emppowered to act on the outcomes and let people know that you are

    But measure!

    If you can’t fulfil all of the above, ask yourself whether you’re the right person to be doing this.

    Good luck with the book.

    Ian

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