This interview excerpt with communications professional Michael Slind discusses the dynamics, content, and method of communication within an organization. Slind uses the term “organizational conversation” to describe the communication he promotes between leaders and those they lead. Slind’s suggested model of communication is non-hierarchical and “marked by intimacy, interactivity, inclusion and intentionality.” This kind of conversation is more open and honest than a traditional, hierarchical, top-down style of leadership communication that institutions typically embody and promote. “Organizational conversation” has advantages, says Slind. He believes that ultimately this kind of conversation creates more trustworthy and flexible institutions and naturally leads people to a deeper commitment to the goals of the institution. This communication method is beneficial for leaders because they learn what people care about, what people know, and where the organization’s challenges and lie. In other words, “organizational conversation” gives leaders information they need to lead. The contemporary world is fast-paced and noisy. Leadership is becoming increasingly difficult, and organizational leaders must communicate effectively to be heard. Slind’s theory of communication offers one way for organizational leaders in all types of congregations to stay nimble and relevant in this changing world.
Reviewed by Janet Hoover