I really enjoyed the recent Walking Dead spinoff series, The Ones Who Live, featuring the long-awaited reunion of main characters Rick and Michonne.

It made me reflect on the very beginning of AMC’s 11-season flagship series when Rick, a Georgia sheriff’s deputy, wakes up in a hospital to a horrifying, surreal atmosphere. The building is deserted with the exception of numerous “walkers,” re-animated corpses that mindlessly and aggressively attempt to devour whatever flesh they come across.

When managing change becomes life-or-death

Rick manages to escape from the hospital and makes his way to a desolate neighborhood, where he befriends a man and his young son who tell him about the zombie apocalypse that broke out while Rick was comatose from a shooting incident. Hoping to find his wife and his own young son, Rick then travels to a zombie-infested Atlanta, where he fights off a multitude of walkers and joins forces with a gang of fellow survivors, gradually becoming the group’s leader.

The Walking Dead franchise is many things at once. It’s a deep dive into how the best and worst of human nature can arise in the midst of catastrophe. It’s a horror story that originated in an ongoing series of graphic novels. And it’s a profile of how a small community of individuals navigates change under some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable.

Rick and his friends have been forced to flee from their homes. They have to scavenge for food, shelter, clothing, medicine, and so forth. There’s no reliable technology such as cell phones, electricity, or running water. And there’s that whole matter of the flesh-eating walkers and various bad guys such as Negan and his beloved baseball bat, “Lucille.”

Non-apocalypse tips for communications and public relations professionals

While you will likely not have to manage a zombie apocalypse, there are many ways you can add value in the context of ongoing change and uncertainty. Here’s three to consider:

  • Honesty and Transparency: Always prioritize honest communication. Acknowledge impermanence and share information openly. When people understand the reality, they can adjust their expectations accordingly.
  • Set Realistic Expectations: Be clear about what is feasible and what isn’t. Avoid overpromising or creating false hopes. Realistic expectations prevent disappointment and foster trust.
  • Educate Stakeholders: Help businesses and individuals understand the nature of impermanence. Explain that change is inevitable and that adaptation is essential for growth and resilience.

Let’s connect

I’m an ICF-certified and experienced professional, coaching authentic human leaders in the age of AI, with a focus on organizations whose Director+ population is facing complex, nuanced problems. Use this link to schedule a call with me to discuss potential coaching services. You can also email me or message me on LinkedIn.