Here in the UK it's been an interesting week.
In particular, the annual government budget was unveiled with an astonishing degree of ineptitude. The Finance minister managed to announce a small cut in tax rates for the richest people in the same speech as he adjusted tax thresholds for pensions.
The Government has been accused of launching a 'granny tax' - an allegation made by right wing and left wing press alike.
But, as you start to wonder how such an obvious mistake could be made, you just have to think of some of the dafter things we've all found ourselves announcing inside organisations.
My worst moment was announcing a hike in the price for vending machine coffee in the week the CEO's salary package leaked out. You don't need much of an imagination to picture the resulting mess!
I think the problem comes most often because of a lack of co-ordination and attention at the highest level.
A blog posting from former minister Damien McBride provides a useful insight into how it used to work at the Treasury under Labour and is worth a read. What I find interesting is the process by which details in a major announcement are turned over again and again in the drive to spot political elephant traps.
Too often, change announcements are made with insufficient scrutiny - a decision gets agreed somewhere and begins an inexorable march to publication. Because employees are not an electorate that can vote out a management team, there is less pressure to challenge and debate the impact that changes can have on morale or engagement.
It is possible to get leaders to make time for preparation - great attention and care is routinely paid to decisions that have to be announced to financial audiences for example.
Last year we got an excellent result on some internal comms when we invited an audience to witness a rehearsal for a CEO roadshow. My clients had been trying to highlight the weakness of the messages they were working with and the lack of detail in the change story. The test audience were very effective in making these points and spotting areas of disunity among the executive team. The roadshow programme was cancelled and the comms team got licence to start work on a more compelling narrative.
I am wondering if we, as internal communicators push hard enough to get rehersal time and message testing built into our announcements? And if we though a little more like political communicators we'd avoid some of the pitfalls that regularly trap us.
PS I see that the government is trying to divert attention by increasing the minimum price of a unit of alcohol. They'd win me over if they introduced a law that made it impossible to use a computer when you're drunk! Binge drink might be the curse of British town centres on a Friday night but the late night email/Ebay bid is the downfall of the on-line classes....