Bureaucratic mindset vs. Web 2.0 mindset

The way most large institutions and corporations communicate and the mindset of the interactive web 2.0 communications often found in smaller organizations is in utter contradiction. There is a compelling story to tell, but most these institutions should learn how to say it.


“I’m just working here” often summarizes this approach, which means that the end user, or the citizen, is usually the last person they have in mind.


When respecting organizational processes become more important than providing an efficient service for the customer; when impersonal gobbledygook replaces an honest response; when the company’s website is overloaded with information to please everyone in the organization but not the end-user; when “because I said so” is the way decisions are made, you know you are facing the bureaucratic mindset instead of the web 2.0 mindset.


Here is a quick comparison of the two – which one does your organization have..?


Bureaucratic Mindset Web 2.0 Mindset 
Writes in an impersonal, non-identifiable way, does not like or dare to have a face (“The Committee considers that…”, XYZ company has launched…”) Writes as a real person, identifiable with a face as a real person (“I believe that…”, “It’s great to see when…”) 


Takes no direct responsibility for their position (“This is the position of the Group. Those wishing to challenge this view may turn to…”) Takes full responsibility for their words and position (“This is what I stand for, and feel free to share your thoughts and challenge my words…”)
Makes sure the hierarchy and the legal department have approved all words Dares to take quick action, act individually, excercise good judgment before posting, value honesty above all
Uses a formal, dry and 3rd person tone (“We wish to inform you that the observation you have submitted is in conformity with the decision of of our board”) Uses an informal tone that is easy-to-understand (“I really like your argument, I agree with you”)
Prefers to use legal bases, formal agreements and is very abstract (“Please refer to Article 45b of Regulation XXX/2005/EC on animal welfare”) Uses concrete, real life examples and tries to avoid using legal blabla (“The EU protects pets such as dogs or hamsters…”)
Prefers to use letters, text-only e-mails and PDFs to communicate Use embedded videos, video-answers, infographics, interactive forums, webcasting and live chats to communicate
Gets angry when their view, position or authority is challenged or questioned Doesn’t mind being challenged, understands that critical feedback gives new ideas to innovative solutions
Responds according to deadlines regulated in administrative codes, not earlier Always answers within 24 hours  or in real time because 12 hours already seem like eternity online
Does not measure its quantitative and qualitative impact : approval, visibility, reviews Constantly monitors the internet and social media conversations, reacts, clarifies, uses analytics
Considers that being online is a burden Considers that being online is an opportunity to get stakeholder buy-in and spread a message
Thinks of online platforms as a colourful media where print brochures can be uploaded Understands the power of interactivity, connectivity, sharing and online multimedia  
Believes that top-down messages are the way to go Horizontal conversations are the way to go
Wants to control the message at all price Has no intention to control the message, and enjoys having a multitude of opinions
Targets senior decision-makers, politicians and journalists; suspicious of bloggers and peers Considers everyone with a computer as a stakeholder and internet connection as a multiplier
Requires all staff to follow the line to take and never challenge the views from the top Encourages internal virtual forums while keeping a unified voice towards outside
Does not feel any pressure to innovate and communicate Understands that becoming irrelevant is the worst that can happen to you


Posted in Corporate communication, EU Affairs, Marketing, Public speaking

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