IMC Intuition

Thinking out loud about all things IMC

Creative Tension & Listening

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You can look at most any PR, communications or marketing blog and get a cookbook style tome with step by step instructions for perfection in communications.  Here are two examples:   “If Tiger would have…” or “BP should have…”  It’s really easy to apply communication rules to someone else’s dilemma, then sit back and take credit for being an “expert.”

 Oh my, the web is full of it. 

My career didn’t begin in the la-la land of marketing, it actually started in the nitty-gritty of industrial manufacturing operations – purchasing, expediting and a brief stint as storeroom keeper in our shop; the area where dedicated employees, working with our engineering and field service group, work miracles on a daily basis within the pressure cooker environment of meeting shipping dates and satisfying customers.   I think here in marketing where everything always works, I forget just how much tension exists in the daily operations of manufacturing.

Particularly coming from the idealistic world of graduate school, I sometimes am perplexed as to why my colleagues don’t seem to get what I’m trying to accomplish in Marketing Communications.  I was brought back to reality this week, reading an article by Dwight Barnhard from Superior Aluminum Castings, Inc. in Modern Casting Magazine (June, 2010, p. 38).

Dwight uses the analogy from what was once a standard childhood occupation – using two tins cans connected by a string to create a private long distance conversation, making use of the principle of vibration to carry the sound.  He reminded me that this particular communication system relied on a tight string; in other words, it worked as long as tension was applied.  The second consideration was that only one person could speak at a time, while the other person had to listen, very carefully.

His conclusion is that, “Like the tin can and string, if used properly, creative tension and a listening ear can turn dialogue into teamwork and vision.”

This was a good comeuppance for me this week; maybe it’s  not my colleagues that don’t get it, I’m thinking it’s me… Creative tension and listening are my mantra for this week!

Links for this post:

Modern Casting Magazine,

 Superior Aluminum Castings,


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