Status Quo

My group is reading Tribes. That surely means a great deal to some true Godin fans; little to people who have never heard of him; and probably provokes something of a sneer from those who pretty much have decided that the thesis is overdone. For our group, it’s been a great read and a great catalyst for discussion.

The concept today – how do you bust up status quo? How do you adopt remarkable behavior? And recognizing that as soon as you bust status quo, you become status quo – what do you do with that?

Our group is uniquely Corporate Communications. We are a mix of public relations, publicity, internet marketing, and marketing communications. It’s a great blend – and our reach extends across the organization, which can make us alternately everyone’s best advocate or greatest headache depending on what someone is trying to accomplish. The really interesting reality for this type of group: we are influencers by the very nature of our craft. We shape messages; we help mold culture; we hear the language of the corner office and the facilities blue collars and weave it together into the corporate speak.

Here’s how to start leading from within. Here’s a way to  shape a new kind of status quo:

  1. Constant Push: raise the good questions and clarify the “why” behind the standard “how”. Do this (here’s a key word for me) winsomely, non-defensively (which is a taller and taller order in today’s culture); and always be willing to back up the push with clear counsel and the ability to pull solutions from those you work with.
  2. Be What You Want: Demonstrate flexibility and a willingness to create new ways of doing and being in our own group, and inspire others to do likewise.
  3. Pursue the new! Encourage an intentional emphasis on being “up” on new ideas and ways to communicate, and to be truly wise find ways to use new media and new techniques in ways that complement the “old classics”.

I spent my early career as a history teacher. And so, I admit that I have a certain healthy skepticism about the continuous “need” for the new. When you study history, you really see that there truly are no new ideas under the sun – and that’s where communications theory becomes essential to today’s new ways of engaging with audiences. There are, however, endless combinations of methods and tactics, and endless possibilities for applying them in new forms.

The idea here – breaking status quo isn’t as much about what or how you do something – it’s about the why.

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