Skip to main content

A holiday blog

It’s been an action-packed three months, to say the least. I’ve started and completed a quarter of my MSC degree at Northwestern. In that same period of time, my company has moved offices (just two floors, but it’s a thing!). My yoga practice has suffered. Winter wasn’t coming and then it arrived without ringing the doorbell. As if in deep empathy to all of this, my Mini Cooper refused to purr to life two cold nights ago. Could it be, like me, on a well-deserved holiday break?

In my last blog entry I promised some key takeaways from my elective, Foundations of Strategic Communication Management with Professor Randy Iden. Here are a holiday handful (including a few inside jokes–take the class to collect them all!):

  • To be “boundaryless” as an organization is to tear down hierarchical and horizontal walls (horizontal walls?) only to build them up again when no one’s doing their real job, or everyone’s trying to do everyone else’s job. Managers: If you want to move walls at your whim, call them “fences” so it seems fairer. (I like to picture picket fences.)
  • PR can and will do basically want it wants to optimize a business image, but it would be wise to consider it at least feigning to be dialogic. It gets you brownie points, especially in today’s feedback economy.
  • Being dialogic (talking and listening) makes you vulnerable. That’s why we must force ourselves to do it intentionally, like yogic breathwork. What if they say something you don’t want to hear?! What if they say it so loudly that other stakeholders (employees, shareholders, customers) hear it, and start throwing in their two cents (or cashing out their stock)?
  • Now that everyone (except for Trader Joe’s and its delicious Cookie Butter) is on social media and thus totally beholden to responding to incidents instantaneously, it’s painful but pragmatic to consider your brand in a state of “permanent crisis.” Now you can staff for it!

Quips aside, I learned a lot in my first quarter of the MSC program–and I’m excited to get back into the routine after holiday break. To my wonderful cohort (many of whom I’ll see tonight at our program party), cheers! To my husband, friends, and incredibly patient two cats: buckle up. You’ve got my undivided attention for the next three weeks.

Jennifer Lindner

MSC Class of 2017