I can't help but see the world as communication. It's who I am. With two degrees in the field and over four years of industry experience, I know what it takes to get a message heard and make it stick. If I've learned anything along the way it's that organizations are icebergs, and I'm a duck.
You've no doubt heard the iceberg illustration at some point or another: 10% is above the surface and 90% is below the surface, out of sight. While this metaphor is used in a variety of ways, I've found it to especially helpful for understanding organizations. Those things we can easily observe (corner offices, cubicles, beanbag chairs, benefits packages, websites, motivational posters, memos, etc.) only tell us part of the story. What's much more significant is below the surface, that is, peer-to-peer conversations, norms, values, behaviors, assumptions, and everyday communication that make up an organization's culture.
At its best, great culture can be a truly valuable competitive advantage. At its worst, poor culture can prove fatal.
This is why I don't pay too much attention to the surface level bells and whistles. They're important (perception is key of course), but the true test is the other 90%.
I love crafting messages and finding out what makes an idea stick, but more than that I love finding out what separates two companies that look the same on the surface, yet one flourishes and one sinks. My fascination with culture and organizational communication/behavior permeates my work.
I want to be a part of companies that aren't afraid when someone goes for a dive in their waters, and I'm confident in my abilities to not only represent solid icebergs well, but also contribute to their fortitude.
More specifically, I see myself as the fearsome apex predator Anas platyrhynchos. Or as it's more commonly known, a duck.
The reason I resonate so deeply with these beautiful breadcrumb-crazed creatures is that, similar to icebergs, all the action is out of sight. If you've ever observed a duck on a pond, you know how they glide calmly along the water's surface, traveling with ease and grace.
However, when you peer beneath the surface you find a flurry of webbed-feet churning furiously to get them where their body needs to go. If the feet don't move, the whole body sits at a standstill, drifting at the mercy of the current. But when it's go time, the feet get to work.
My "water churning" includes hours upon hours of researching concepts, drafting copy, tweaking designs, outlining speeches, studying notes, learning programs, and drafting more copy. Because of this, I feel most comfortable during the grind. I know that no piece of quality, eloquent communication comes without a heavy dose of dirty work.
I take my grit seriously, and I believe that - combined with my proven talent and unrelenting passion for communication - I have a unique advantage over others in my field. I know first hand that traveling gracefully from A to B doesn't happen without hard work. And I have no interest in letting the current dictate my future.
My Core Values
- Listen first
- Promise realistically, produce extraordinarily
- Learning is about choice, not ability
- My job is to take away stress, not create it
- Don't judge an age by its number
- Context is king
- Relationships outlast the rest
- Make the best decision with the information you have at the time
- My effort does not depend on my title
My Big Schtick
One of my core values listed above is don't judge an age by its number. This might seem a little out of place among the others, but it really is at the core of my belief system. After two years absorbing all I could on the impact of age in the workplace, I decided to write my graduate thesis on the topic with an emphasis on helping others bridge the pervasive generational gap we've all experienced at some point or another.
Click here to read my blueprint for communicating with any generation at work (without all the boring academic stuff).