Chameleon Effect in Corporate Communication

Chameleon Effect in Corporate Communication

Working as a Senior Manager-Sales and Marketing, life is good for me; I have a dream job in a dream company. The job requires me to connect and network with multiple people across different hierarchies and organizations. I always believed that my excellent communication and interpersonal skills will help me to deliver my job with ease. Also, the advent and aid of technology will make inter and intra-departmental interactions smoother.

BUT….. Alas!!! Life is not always as you think! I soon realized that these multiple channels of advanced communication can sometimes become a real nightmare. My reporting structure in a matrix organization requires me to report and coordinate with multiple department heads and peer members across multiple hierarchies. I have realized that in order to communicate effectively across these multiple hierarchies one has to have Magical Powers. The essence of good communication arises from understanding the various key factors that drive communication within an organization. And one who masters how to understand and prioritize these factors is considered to be a “Numero Ono communicator“.

What are these key factors which make or break communication within an organization???? I have learnt through practical experience, thanks to my ever inquisitive and proactive self who can never say “No” to any job which comes up in my professional stride. I have realized that communication or exchange of messages and information for business purposes depends on certain key factors as mentioned before. These are; First, the overall Culture of the Organization; Second, the Culture of the Department; Third, the type of Task or work you perform and last and the most important, your behaviour as an individual.

Let me explain to you, each of the factors by taking examples from my personal experiences. First, the overall organizational culture plays a very important role in communication. It can either promote or hinder the successful completion of any task within the organization. For example; the culture of the organization is friendly and open, it will always promote the free expression of voice and opinions which is “THE” ingredient for good and successful communication. But if and ONLY IF the Department Culture is in sync with the organization’s culture. And if there is a mismatch (which most of the time happens)!!!!! Hell breaks loose on the poor employees who are unfortunate to comprehend this mismatch and adopt the Chameleon Effect.

Chameleon Effect is nothing but syncing or camouflaging or blending your communication style as and when required to the department or organization’s culture and accordingly preparing your communication responses to each. Seems a bit difficult and confusing and above all stressing if YOU are not cut out for that! And whenever there are multiple layers of communication this problem becomes more pronounced. And believe me, most of us are NOT prepared to face this problem until we learn the hard way.

And what is the HARD way? A hard way is when your boss reprimands you for a job which you have not intentionally performed wrong. It’s only because you believed that you had communicated clearly to your team leader the limitations of your knowledge regarding the job but this was NOT communicated to your boss immediately and effectively. And you presumed that your work was done post informing your team leader. What can be the probable reasons for this “missed communication” between your team leader and your boss????? Even god will need help to answer that question. But who was at a loss of face???? Poor You. HAHAHAHA! That’s the plight of NOT adapting to the Chameleon effect.

There are many ways of adapting to this Chameleon effect of communication, and to learn this, we need to have a flexible and free-flowing communication style which synchronizes and helps to bridge cross-departmental and cross hierarchical communication. Let’s learn more about it in my forthcoming blogs. Till then, happy communicating!