Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Summer is over and we hope you’ve been being collaborative, as that is our theme this month.
As you’ll remember (maybe), our summer reading list included A Bigger Prize: Why Competition isn’t Everything, and How We Do Better, by Margaret Heffernan. Margaret came into Jericho last Thursday evening to speak at our Book Club and dazzled us with her sharp insight and illustrative stories, including one that explains both the pecking order of chickens and why teenage girls smoke. Ultimately, she argues, social capital – broadly helpfulness – is an essential component for any successful business. But it is being undermined in many businesses by relentlessly competitive practices, most notably forced ranking. We highly recommend the book, which delves into everything from the Finnish education system, to the banking collapse, to sibling birth order, anorexia, Olympic winners and the personalities of scientists.
In a similar vein, Jericho Chambers Member, Alaric Mostyn has written an article that argues “Teams aren’t what they used to be. They need to be more female, flexible and fluid”. Alaric shares recent research showing that “groups of women are collectively smarter than groups of men – the result of hormones, emotional intelligence and social factors” and that whilst “team diversity is ethically right – we now know it is also much better for performance.” No argument from the Jericho Notices editors on that one!
Less hearteningly, in Management Today’s September edition, Jericho co-founder Christine Armstrong, looks at research that shows female CEOs may be more likely to get fired than their male counterparts. The research, it transpires, is ‘directional’ (wonk speak for inconclusive), so it may be true, or it may just be a great headline. Either way, Christine sources some wisdom from senior women on how to avoid being fired. Including our favourite, from Julie Meyers: ‘look expensive’. Meanwhile Nicola Rabson, Head of Employment and Incentives at Linklaters, shares a few tips about negotiating if the worst should happen.
Neal Lawson is also thinking about collaboration in his piece for the New Statesman: “This new era demands collective leadership, not heroic individuals”. Neal focuses on the implications for leadership in the 21st century and writes that “all of us are smarter than any one of us. Collective intelligence and collective leadership are now within our grasp”. In the Guardian, Neal also argues that this is an instinct demonstrated in abundance by Labour’s policy review coordinator, Jon Cruddas: “Cruddas understands that the energy and resources to build a good society must come from citizens”.
The future of the communications industry
Head of Chambers Robert Phillips was recently asked to contribute some provocative thoughts on the future of the communications industry for The Circle of European Communicators summit in Rome. In this short video, Robert puts forward his proposed new model of Public Leadership.
Expanding on this in Communication Director magazine, Robert wrote that “Public Leadership is needed to replace public relations” and that this proposed model of Public Leadership “should be measured by Public Value” which is “co-produced with wise crowds of employees, customers and stakeholders”
Climate change: a failure to communicate?
In the lead up to the publication of the latest Futures Company pamphlet, which he co-authored, Founding Member Jules Peck recently contributed to a PR Week special report on climate change that looks at “why mankind’s most important message has faltered”. In “A compelling climate change narrative to defeat the doubters,” Jules writes: “we’re not failing to communicate climate change; we’re failing to communicate what to do about it and to get people to buy into the necessary radical action.”
Jules is also sceptical about recent statements from leading PR firms who say they won’t work for climate deniers, asking “when will the first £10m account be turned away?”.
Robert Phillips discussed this issue in the most recent Echo Chamber podcast from the Holmes Report, in which he considers the ethics and complications involved when global PR agencies take on certain types of regimes or clients.
Yours (working in close collaboration as always),
Roxanne Wilson & Kellan Palmer