I’ve seen a big surge of interest lately in new operating models for communication teams Coincidence or a trend?

It sure looks like a trend, which is not all that surprising, given the massive changes in enterprise communication during the last few years. For example, communication today:

  • Is more dialogue and less monologue;
  • Is instantaneous, with no time to massage the message;
  • Is multidirectional on multiple channels, with multiple stakeholder groups;
  • Uses human voice, not corporate speak.

Companies have always wanted to control the story. But now, a more realistic goal is to shape the conversation. Using a calibrated mix of PESO (paid, earned, shared and owned) channels, they can capture real-time data on what content is – and isn’t – resonating.

In spite of this, many communication teams have stuck with a traditional operating construct – the functional model. They group staff by task and audience – internal communications, external communications, executive communications, etc. This has been the default model for decades.

But if so much in communication has changed, is it still the right model? Perhaps for smaller teams which, due to a shortage of resources, have no choice but to deploy mostly generalists, the communication equivalents of the Swiss Army knife.

But for larger and more specialized teams, the functional model can hurt productivity and performance. It can impede collaboration and contribute to redundancies, resource inequities and, occasionally, message fragmentation.

More on this in a future post…