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Psychiatrist and viral change expert Dr Leandro Herrero previews his appearance as keynote speaker at IoIC Live 2016 by telling us why internal communicators should lead the way on being human in business.

Somewhere along the way we lost the ability to speak human in business. So says Dr Leandro Herrero, the ‘architect of organisations’ at the Chalfont Project.

“We all have father and mothers and brothers and sisters that we speak with in a normal language during the evening,” he explains. “But from nine to five – or whenever we’re at work – we speak a strange language called management.

“It has become less and less human and more and more meaningless.”

Dr Herrero – the author of five books on leadership and change - firmly believes the human space in business is something that could be reclaimed by internal communicators, and he will tell them how at IoIC Live 2016 in Birmingham on May 5-6.

“I believe that because IC and comms in general has a tradition of focusing on content and channels and messaging, almost all communication goes from A to B and we never talk about human-to-human interaction,” he explains.

“I think internal communicators will have something to say about that. There’s a space for human-to-human interaction. It’s hardly a new age approach, but it’s been superseded by input/output logic.”

He quotes the theory of ‘Happy cows produce better milk’ and says: “The language of employee engagement is a language of people being satisfied and engaged in order to be more productive, it’s all about input and output.

“The model is amoral. It has nothing to do with whether satisfaction, engagement, fulfillment, happiness or anything else are good in themselves. It simply asserts that, if you want better milk, you’d better feed the cows.

“A better work-life balance, for example, produces better engagement, which produces better results. But too often in the world of engagement work-life balance is seen as good only in so far as it is the oil for the machinery.

“So, engagement and productivity have been intrinsically linked – but is that really human? It’s engagement for the sake of it.

“But it’s hard to believe that in today’s world, where we have achieved the highest of our possibilities as mankind, we should be content with ‘feeding cows to get better milk’ as the climax of the imagination when it comes to employee engagement.

“When did the moral surgery take place? Where and when did we agree the clinical, neutral, naked, utilitarian, mechanic, and sterile concept of engagement of employees as a means to produce better milk? Is that the best we can do?”

Dr Herrero will be asking these questions and more at IoIC Live and laying down the challenge to internal communicators to do much more

“Humans are intelligent, they want to develop themselves and make the best of themselves. Dare I say there’s almost a moral imperative to get people engaged.”

He says that ‘being human’ should be top of the consideration list when people are looking for a job – and a great recruiting tool.

“You would have thought being human was the absolute base line for a good place to work, but often it’s just an add-on,” he stresses.

“I’m not expecting everybody to care, but I expect at least to be able to say ‘Should we care?’ and I think IC is best suited to do it.

“Engagement is not about delivery and production – that’s not human. It’s about culture and environment, and that’s a space that needs to be reclaimed.”


Dr Herrero heads two global consulting groups: the Chalfont Project and the Viral Change global network of companies.

A psychiatrist by background, her publishes his Daily Thoughts on organisational and people issues every day at 8am on www.leandroherrero.com

He is also an executive fellow at the Centre for the Future of Organisation.

Previous employment includes leading roles at pharmaceutical companies Allergan, Glaxo and Eli Lilly & Co, and clinical psychiatrist for 14 years in the UK and Spain..

Dr Herrero’s published books include: Homo Imitans – The Art Of Social Infection, Viral Change: The Alternative To Slow, Painful And Unsuccessful Management of Change in Organisations, Disruptive Ideas, New Leaders Wanted – Now Hiring! and The Leader With Seven Faces.

Book your place to hear Dr Leandro Herrero speak at IoIC Live 2016
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