Adeela Warley: Done well, hybrid is the best of both worlds

Finding models that combine the best qualities of our stakeholders, tools and tactics is the next big challenge for comms teams

Adeela Warley
Adeela Warley

The evolutionary biologist and comedian Simon Watt is on an imaginary quest to improve the human body, by combining the best characteristics of animals with our own in his BBC Radio 4 series, called Hybrid.

The word hybrid has moved from its biological roots into everyday parlance, from hybrid cars to hybrid working.

The new hybrid working blend of home and office brings flexibilities and ways to build trusted and empowered teams. On the downside, building personal rapport and environments where creativity and collaboration thrive can be tricky.

These tensions are top-of-mind for many comms teams. We’re asked to balance short- and long-term strategies; to be both reactive and proactive; to be online yet personal; and to manage the tension between leading from the centre and letting go.

The housing and homelessness charity Shelter is modelling two of these blended behaviours by committing to both three-year and 10-year goals to build changes over the coming decade, and building a movement of people who will make this change happen.

The charity says: “Movements grow from the bottom-up, not from the top-down, and our work will reflect this, with Shelter’s national functions responding to the experiences and injustice faced by those we serve.”

It is a brave but necessary step to give power back to our audiences and allow them to lead.

I’m not sure a human with the skin of a cuttlefish or the eye of an eagle is a good thing, but finding ‘sweet spots’ that combine the best qualities of our stakeholders, tools and tactics is a hybrid worth having.

Adeela Warley is the chief executive of CharityComms

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