Tina Vidergar, Integrated Communication Manager CEE, SAP for GFMP: E = mc2 or what Albert Einstein taught me about communications
Yes, Einstein, the famous theoretical physicist, that came up with the general theory of relativity, a theory that has shaken the world. And that was just one of the amazing things he came up with and I do not fully understand and I probably never will, since physics was never my strongest point. Never the less, I deeply admire the guy, not just for what he did for the modern physics, but also because he gave me, as a communicator that has nothing to do with physics, some great advice that I try to follow in my daily work. Let me share a few.
1. “Insanity – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
I believe that internal communication plays a vital role in every company and in times of change, internal communication matters even more. In order for internal communicators to be relevant in shaping company’s business transition, we need to be a step ahead, proactive and surprising. Only a different approach brings different results.
2. “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough yourself.”
Yes, understanding the topic and the consequences is crucial. For that we need to talk to managers and leaders, ask as many questions as possible, follow the business and be on top of what’s happening in the company. And at the same time, remain closely in touch with employees. We need to be involved in informal happenings and understand the things in the company that are not formal processes. All that “work” and networking, so we can translate the two worlds into one language and help them understand each other.
Whenever I try to prepare a comprehensible communication about some complex thing, I remember how simply Einstein explained relativity: “When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.”
3. “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.”
New concepts, unfamiliar words, complex explanations, lot of abbreviations (yes, this is a special language we use @SAP) are just some examples of how the majority of very intelligent people communicate amongst each other. And as long they are from the same field of expertise, they completely understand each other. The issues arise when they need to communicate to different target groups that are not on the same page.
At SAP we have a new overlook on the world, business and also communication – Run Simple. No need for additional explanation, however being simple is a hard job, that takes a lot of time and courage, requires a lot of new ideas and out of the box thinking. And a touch of genius in everyone.
4. “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”
We have always done it this way, are the words I hear often. Just because that is true, that does not mean, that “this way” is the right way. Or maybe it was just right 10 years ago, but we are all changing, the world is changing and the work force is changing. In order to be relevant, we need to adapt to new circumstances, new strategy, new manager, new target audience. And then “this way” is not the right way anymore. If an internal communicator wants to be relevant, I believe she or he wants to always try something new and different. Making mistakes here and there is a part of learning and improving process. So, do not be afraid of mistakes, but be afraid of the seven most expensive words in business: We have always done it this way.
5. E = mc2
This is probably one of the most known formulas of all times, connecting energy, mass and speed. And here is how I have translated it in internal communication:
E (engaged employees) = M (meaningful matters aka the right content) c2 (Channels & 2-way communication)
To conclude – »I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.« Do you know who said that?
If you are curious too, join us on the face 2015 Conference and I’ll show you how I turn these learnings from Einstein into practice in my role as integrated communication @SAP.
Tina Vidergar, Integrated Communication Manager CEE, SAP
More about Tina Vidergar