Internal Newsletter

Dear Management Doctor:

I'm reading The ABZs of Planning Management and enjoying it. You had some interesting examples of internal planning department newsletters. Are there any old or current samples of internal newsletters worth reading? I'd like to see what kind of information they offer, and if it is appropriate for my office.

Thank you!

Tony Palermo, Senior Planner
Fort Myers, FL

Dear Tony,

My thoughts on internal newsletters are on Pages 174 to 177 in The ABZs of Planning Management. I also discuss an internal newsletter cartoon that got me in trouble on Pages 182 and 183 of my new book, What Your Planning Professors Forgot To Tell You. As I travel the country in my consulting practice, I pick up internal newsletters as I see them but I have been unimpressed. My reaction is generally as follows:

  • They are stodgy and bureaucratic.
  • They come out only every two to four weeks, often monthly so the news is old.

I had excellent success with internal newsletters when I was a planning director. However, given today's technology, I'd be inclined to replace hardcopy with email and a good bulletin board. The size of the office is also a key ingredient. In my office of five people, we don't need a newsletter, we simply talk to each other. When an office gets up to 30, 100 or 200 there may be a need. I would include:

  • Articles, comments or stories continually reinforcing the mission.
  • News about the program, success stories, work program, etc.
  • Personal news, promotions, retirements, births, marriages, etc.
  • Ordinance or policy interpretations.
  • Training tips.
  • Positive and negative communications from customers.

Maybe I'm out of touch, so let's hear from our readers about good and bad examples. If someone thinks they have a really good example, mail or email it to me and we will share it with our readers.

For better communication,

The Management Doctor

Reader Response

I work for the City of Savannah's Community Planning & Development Department. We have three divisions and about 20 staff members. We don't have official newsletters, however, we have a reading file system that is circulated internally every Monday. The file includes activities from all the divisions and more. The system seems to work out fine. The E-newsletter sounds like a good idea.

Alexander C. Ikefuna
City of Savannah, Georgia

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