Leadership communication woes: Vatican or Israel

Speak to your customers. Engage your constituency. Sales manager or politician, everybody is trying to reach as many people as quickly as possible. And seemingly, we all know how to do it better than the other; just by quoting the magic phrase “social networking”.

Yup – get yourself a blog and a twitter account and the world will love you.

Even the Vatican is at it. Six weeks ago, Pope Benedictus XVI began to urge priests to exploit 2010 World Communication Day in order to promote awareness of the pastoral ministry. And if you click the link here, you will find a series of announcements encouraging the Catholic Church to use, use, use digital media for the greater good.

So if this is “powerful media”, even significant enough for the Financial Times to pick up on the comment, what about other countries? In Israel, Bibi Netanyahu has a deserved reputation has a good communicator. I have seen him speak several times, and he knows how to control an audience from the opening sentence.

And yet, look how poorly his government has delivered on two key issues. Internally, a new tax was announced on water consumption. The aim was to raise money for new investment in the sector and discourage over usage. The bills have started to come, showing more than a doubling in costs.

Uproar! The public reaction has produced a massive rethink on the grounds of…well, apparently the first rains have been so good that maybe Israel does not need such a tax after all! How’s that for a convincing message to the man in the street?

Or take the debate on the Goldstone report at the UN. Israel had months to prepare for this international PR disaster. The bottom line is that Israel had to enter Gaza, because it was under daily attack – over 10,000 rockets and missiles had been launched from Gaza in under a decade.

No comparable situation in the world? Did Israel dare point out that Saudi Arabia regularly attacks Yemen, killing innocents – this happened again in the past few days. What about the suspected atrocities in Sri Lanka? Or….. and the list goes on. Silence from Jerusalem, meaning the world has nothing to respond to.

The point is that when it comes to effective communications and leadership, the Holy Land may have a lot to learn from the Holy See. Fingers crossed that somebody gets the message?

 

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