During the 1950's I cannot remember much emphasis being made on "how" people communicated. I'm not sure that "Public relations" even existed as a discipline back then. Then, in 1957 we had Vance Packard's 'The Hidden Persuaders', and William Sargant's 'Battle for the Mind', and, in 1964 came Marshall McLuhan's 'Understanding Media: the extensions of man' in which he introduced the phrase 'the medium is the message'. Without commenting on the content of these, it seems to me that much of the current emphasis on 'how' rather than 'what' can be dated back to works such as these. When today I look at "leaders" on television, hear them on the radio, or read of them in the written press I often find that it is really difficult to ascertain what they really believe and what, if any, is the goal they are trying to achieve other than massaging their own egos.
One of the problems that I see in relation to much leadership today is that there can be more of an emphasis on "how" things are presented rather than on "what" is presented. This often results in very shallow, populist approaches that are designed for 'sound bites' rather than for edification. People seem to want to keep themselves in forefront of mind rather than inform.
I was pondering on this over the past couple of days - Federal Parliament is back in session and "spin" will again take precedence I fear. This is a real problem as we entger an election year.
I wonder how much "spin" compensates for content in your organisation - and in your communication as a leader.
Just a thought!
More information about Doug Long at http://www.dglong.com