We’re sad.

Only (you fill in the blank) more episodes to the Mad Men saga, a time when creative directors ruled and men were, well, men.

Seriously.  With the star power of that era faded (but not completely obliterated), today’s work world, no matter what the industry or issue, resembles team collaboration more than individual creations.  Diversity is rampant.  The pace of digital collapses time and barriers.  That one great breakthrough idea is subsumed by little mini-campaigns, building incremental value.

Except:  Psychologists and social researchers reveal that the notion of team consensus – replacing leaders’ command and control -- doesn’t always work.  Decision making often stops, or slows down.  Execution can be slow at best, stuttering at worst. 

Their solution?  A list of four actions, from playing the connector to ending debate, all within the scope of senior leaders’ responsibilities.  Yet at least two of them, in our opinion, fall into the province of communications/marketing, roles that might not be the most comfortable, but, certainly, are the most needed.

Here are the two we believe we must own:

  • Connecting.  It is up to us to bring in the appropriate universe to our companies, our clients.  We should be cultivating information that others might not have heard, sharing it in examples and how-tos.  It might be an arcane approach to storytelling.  A new technology that might excel, inside and out, in achieving goals.
  • Modelling.  For sure, we act in all the right ways when we set up cross-organizational diverse networks and labor virtually.  We need to extend that role modeling, showing it live and capturing it in memories for the rest of our populations.  Otherwise, how will they know what collaboration really can mean?

Why not adapt this riff on Don Draper’s witticism:   “If you don’t like what is being done, then change the behaviors”?