“what we have here is a failure to officiate”


A recent article on business governance and how Boards and shareholders are looking for better ways to communicate (http://www.directorship.com/can-we-talk/ ) provided a most interesting quote by Charles “Randy” Whitchurch :

“I think the dangers of having a coversation is that it will become more of a debate. Directors aren’t always as tuned into what the company’s message is. You run the risk of directors going off message.”

Mr. Whitchurch is another example of a Top-down or one-way communicator who doesn’t realize how asinine this approach is for running a business.

Communication fails when conversation or debate is discouraged . 

A message has NOT been communicated unless it is understood by the receiver. How do you know it has been properly received? By two-way communication or feedback. This feedback tells the sender that the receiver understood the message, its level of importance, and what must be done with it.

Councillor Buck wrote a recent blog post ( http://evelynmbuck.blogspot.com/2010/01/its-odd.html ) regarding the town and it’s Corporate Communications Division.

I agree that creating a position at an absurdly high cost to the taxpayer, and seeking out qualifications that include a Masters Degree in Communications are over the top.

We don’t need to increase the “operational budget” or award fancy titles to increase communication with our town, we simply need them to listen.

What I do not agree with is Buck’s view that :

“Facebook is the domain of Rampant and Reckless ,Totally Irreverent and Sacrilegious Youth.”

Facebook is often demonized and frowned upon as a frivolous internet meme that has no value in business or communications.

That simply couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Facebook is important, so are LinkedIn, Twitter and several other Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).  They are being embraced by young and old and with numbers that outstrip Newspaper, Television and traditional broadcast media as primary sources of receiving news and information.

Our town is sadly behind the times by not embracing these tools, or even knowing that they exist, an how to apply them.

That being said this could be accomplished by hiring a New Media or Social Media specialist, perhaps even on contract for a fraction of what is being talked about here.

The amount of $ being spent on communications by this town is itself a failure, and one that needs to be communicated.  The amount of resources required for our mayor to do her job is absurd.

Buck estimates that the cost of the Notice Board in the Mayora banner is $75,000 a year.
Think about that.  That is a salary. 
For what? An insert into a single paper/

Wow could that money be better spent.

Our Mayor is effective in one-way communication, but not much else, and instead of running to create another position paid for by the tax payer the Mayor and senior staff should be encouraged to read the following book by Holly Weeks:

Weeks points out: “When people carry a combat mentality, as well as painful emotions, into a conversation with unseen problems, goodwill is not enough to prevent damage on both sides.”

Am I the only one seeing the parallel between the Mayor Morris vs. Evelyn Buck and The Captain (Strother Martin) vs Luke (Paul Newman) in the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke?

Watch that famous scene again, and see what you think:

The patronizing quip at the end about “not liking it anymore than you”, only serves to strengthen the comparison.

If we all want to reduce “misunderstandings” and return money to our town I suggest we rid ourselves of those on council that say a lot but hear very little.

Communication is an exchange, not just a give, as all parties must participate to complete the information exchange.

It doesn’t take a Masters Degree in Communications to know that.


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