9:13 ET: Rick opens up by promising a different vision for communications, a joke about laser eye surgery, and an announcement: this is the first ever CEC meeting supporting in-room iPad slides! It’s fitting because the first page of the material is a review of select Communication milestones, reflecting not the increased complexity in our execution but as revealed on the next page, increased demand from business partners to help them navigate these “interesting times.”
9:25 ET: Audience members vent that as we take on more communications through more channels with more people, we’re getting good at building affinity and support but can’t necessarily connect it all back to business outcomes. But Rick explains that have seen companies re-orient themselves toward business outcomes by focusing on a crucial missing link… (after the jump)
9:40: The key element is BEHAVIORS. As Rick said, we’re not necessarily packing our bags for Oslo to collect the Nobel prize, but if we are able to re-orient our function to the behaviors not shaping messages or stewarding good communication, think of how much closer we could be to business outcomes in the rest of the organization’s eyes.
9:55: So, how can communications drive behavior change – that’s the research question Rick will answer… after introductions!
10:04: Rick says his Mom keeps apple pie in Tupperware. The context is unclear because the simulcast isn’t picking up attendee audio, but it was oddly hysterical on its own merits.
10:35: Okay, picking back up after the break here. Rick is reviewing the detailed research process across psychology, member interviews and surveys, etc. and it turns out that there are three drivers of behaviors: attitudes, capability, and social cues. Most people indicate that they focus their communications on attitudes.
10:37: Uh oh, here’s the thing about attitudes: there are so many more decisions stakeholders can make and so many more inputs into that decision making process that individuals are now relying on capability (what’s easiest) and social cues (what’s others are doing) more than ever – but that hasn’t been our core competency in Comms! Now, I think I see where this is going…
10:47: Indeed, as we continue the discussion, the biggest opportunity for Communicators is on influencing social cues and making behaviors easy for our stakeholders to adopt. Neat anecdote from ConAgra rounds this story out. Apparently despite a robust traditional communications effort – posters and the like – they weren’t seeing the reflection in safety metrics in their plants. They changed their approach to help managers provide more social cues that this was important and indeed, got the improvement they were looking for.
2:15pm: So, as it turns out, someone has to keep trains running while preview is in session, so I missed some material while on some other calls. But it looks like the research is focusing on three areas: 1) identifying and solving for the root cause of business problems, 2) refocusing team activities to the areas most likely to create behavior change, and 3) reinforcing an outcomes focused thinking within our team. You have to get to a meeting or in touch with your account manager to get the whole story, but I’ll leave you with one word. BEACON
These are the key drivers of human behavior and what we’ll be listening for and influencing in order to generate breakthrough behavior change in Communications.