Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!

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 I would like you to think of communication as a process ... and the process is frequently something like:

Awareness + Intention + Action = RESULTS

• AWARENESS Change of any kind begins with awareness. Awareness is an acknowledgment that There is a problem. It is the understanding that This isn't how it's supposed to be. Those desiring to implement change need to facilitate awareness, also called selling the problem. Remember NO AWARENESS, NO CHANGE!
• INTENTION The next step in the communication process is intention. Intention is the shift from There is a problem! to Someone needs to do something about this! Intention is a growing desire to change and be different. Those at this stage will frequently look to others to initiate change (Someone needs to do something about this!) or look to the future (Someday I'll change!) It is critical at this stage that all possible solutions be explored. At this stage we often develop enough energy to alleviate the symptoms, but not enough to successfully produce the desired outcome. In practical terms, leaders need to allow things to diminish and disintegrate to a sufficient level that will provide adequate motivation and energy to sustain the desired outcome.
• ACTION While there are several forms of action that can be taken, let me identify three:

  1. Incidental action: This action is random in nature. The idea behind this type of action is, We need  to do something! We don't have a clue what we need to do! But we're going to do something!
  2. Incremental action: The premise behind this type of action is, If we could just do more of what we're already doing, things will change! In a few cases "more" is the answer, although it usually isn't. The problem with doing "more" is that we expect different results even though we're basically doing the same thing we've always done, just "more". Energy will be expended, but the outcome will rarely be different.
  3. Intentional action: This form of action is strategic in nature. Attention and energy are focused on a few carefully chosen goals that will likely produce the desired results. This type of action requires that we disengage from the usual way of doing things and implement different strategies and action plans.

This formula (Awareness + Intention + Action = Results) is helpful when determining the kind of communication that needs to take place. For example, calling a group to action when they have no awareness of the issues at hand is unproductive. Similarly, attempting to motivate people who are already motivated and ready for action can be very frustration for the group.

Phil Maynard
The Office of Congregational Transformation



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