Lack of Clear Communication Creates Resistance

I have been thinking of why the discussion on the unethical practices of some loyalty affiliates has been going the way it’s been going (in circles), and it looks like there are two reasons for it (i) failure to communicate clearly at the very outset, and (ii) unwillingness to digest the facts, on the other hand. In this post, I would like to focus on the first reason, as, I believe, some lessons can be learned here.

In his “Making the Connections: Using Internal Communication to Turn Strategy Into Action” 2008 volume Bill Quirke wrote that “failure to make communication clear and simple is creating resistance and contributing to the high failure rate of initiatives.” (p. 15) He proposed a four-step communication process to help people “convert information into action” (which is exactly what is needed in our case!)  These steps are:

  1. Providing content ““ providing people with data, information, ideas and concepts.
  2. Putting it in context ““ people need to be able to process that information, and to make it relevant to their situation.
  3. Having conversations ““ people need to explore, text and understand the implications of what they are doing.
  4. Gathering feedback ““ ensuring that communication has been understood as intended. (p. 79)

It seems that the above four steps can be perfectly applied to the context of (a) creating awareness about the unethical affiliate marketing practices, and (b) facilitating change. Of course, besides a clear communication, the real change will also require the sincere involvement and constructive cooperation of all involved parties; but starting with a properly structured communication process can make a world of difference.

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