Communication today has become more like a conversation. But conversations are sometimes uncontrollable … often unpredictable … and almost always self-adjusting.
In other words, they are complex.
In complex situations, swift and seemingly incessant changes make it impractical, if not impossible, to contain communication strategies within hardbound rules or templates. What’s more, genuinely successful strategies are rarely transferable because each one deals with a unique combination of people, ideas, and events.
That is why Howard takes a systems approach to communication strategy. Incorporating insights from complexity theory, cognitive science, diffusion of innovations, and information design, his interdisciplinary method has been developed to be:
Comprehensive: encouraging diversity of knowledge and experiences, so as to examine complex problems in broad context to look beyond what is obvious and identify all possible causes, all potential consequences, and the myriad connections between them.
Open-Minded: entertaining, and not constraining, the possibility of something new, different, or unexpected from across a wide array of sources and perspectives, no matter how seemingly incongruent.
Discerning: thoroughly weighing the accuracy of information and the logic of ideas.
Empathic: striving to see audiences as they see themselves to better address their needs, interests, and concerns by delivering intelligible, meaningful, and practicable content.
Flexible: recognizing that as soon as a plan is put into the environment it will affect that environment – and be affected in return – resulting in the emergence of new factors, objectives, and outcomes.
Self-Critical: acknowledging cognitive biases, and willing to accept and learn from mistakes and failures.
Plus, Howard regularly monitors processes, measures outcomes, and adjusts approaches so no matter how circumstances change, every strategy can effectively adapt.