George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”.
Now there was a chap who knew something about communicating with and engaging his audiences. It’s a favourite quote of mine as it encapsulates completely the mistake we all make from time to time; “hey, I told you to do this task” …. “I told you what I wanted”, “I emailed you”, “I texted you”, “I messaged you – its been communicated, I’ve done my bit”.
Of course that’s not communication – at least its not good communication.
The KEQMS/Arnold debate, rightly has taken up a lot of column inches in local papers, periodicals, and radio time and has caused hundreds of hard pressed parents and their sons and daughters (mine included) at both schools much concern and anxiety.
Without getting into the issues and possible solutions, which I accept are complex and challenging for most of us to fully comprehend and grasp, it strikes me that first and foremost the proposal was always going to be difficult to progress, without a carefully thought through communication plan.
Any reasonable person would accept, that due to a very economic gloomy climate, that both schools inevitably might struggle to maintain reasonable numbers of pupils and revenues at this time.
It is a shame that apparently for legal reasons, the schools could not have engaged parents at an earlier stage. Imagine a dialogue between those parents (some of the brightest business minds on the Fylde Coast) and how everyone could have been galvanised and looking for opportunities to secure a prosperous future with an agreed and considered plan, a call to action, a rallying cry – the response would have been overwhelming.
Instead we have mistrust in some quarters, acrimony, resignations and frankly a bit of a PR bump, battle lines drawn and worst of all, at the moment, just more uncertainty for the kids.
All is not lost – far from it.As I’m reviewing our own communication strategy at the moment, here at Rowleys, it’s a timely reminder that we all get our communication and messaging wrong from time to time – there is no shame in that – we all make errors of judgement, we’re human. Hopefully lines are now being drawn in the KEQMS/Arnold debate and progress will be made really quickly, but dialogue, discussion understanding and agreement is the only way to ensure real communication has taken place.