Some Thoughts On: Spill-Over Knowledge

The NY Times this week reported that “[US President Joe Biden has] granted the fewest interviews since Mr. Reagan’s presidency: only 54.” In what seems to be an attempt to increase message control, the Biden presidency “has taken steps to reduce opportunities for journalists to question him in forums where he can offer unscripted answers and they can follow up”.

This is an interesting thing indeed – because as an Australian, I don’t have much of a horse in US politics. However, across both the Obama and Trump presidencies I had a pretty good idea of their slants and priorities. …But for Biden, I really don’t have much of a picture on what he cares about. Sure, I could go and do some research and find answers easily for it – but I simply didn’t have to for the two previous US presidents. There was knowledge by saturation. The graph below paints the picture fairly clearly:

Thankfully as change leaders our playing field looks a little different (we likely aren’t targeting 340 million people). However, when we lead large, important things (like transformations in the way a business operates, or what it values) – we really need to be looking at saturation. So, it begs the question:

What level of message saturation is needed for your change?

Here’s a quick tip for measuring saturation – ask the organisational units around your target ones if they’re aware of your change & associated messaging. If they can loosely recite the project, then you’re achieving spill-over and are likely close to target saturation.

And A Quick Thought Exercise: Messaging Clear Enough To Drink

On the topic of messaging – I came across an interesting bit of trivia this week. It’s suggested that many English Pubs are named after animals because when many of them were created, their clientele were illiterate. Calling your pub “John’s Brewhouse” would be next to impossible to communicate via signage. However – ‘the Red Lion’ is easily displayed by a picture of a Red Lion.

Add the complexity of drinking to an already illiterate clientele – and you really need to make it simple for them. “I’ll meet you at the pub with the White Swan out front”.

Thankfully, your target audiences are likely not illiterate, and hopefully not intoxicated while digesting your message – however it’s an interesting exercise in simplicity:

How would you communicate your change WHY to a drunk, illiterate patron?

…When even an elevator (pitch) would confound them!

Final thoughts

This week it’s simple. Keep being awesome.

See you next week. BB