023: Strategic Communication in a Complex World with Dr Libby Mitchell

Episode 23: Strategic Communication in a Complex World with Dr Libby Mitchell

At the core of every successful business lies the importance of good organisational communication. It’s the thread that connects teams, departments, and stakeholders and helps them make sense of their context. 

However, when communication isn’t clear, people can get messages that cause confusion and distract them from what’s most important. 

In this episode of Thriving in Complexity, Susanne Le Boutillier talks to Dr Libby Mitchell, a specialist in stakeholder engagement and strategic communication with experience in consulting, working in corporates and academia across the globe and in multiple sectors. 

Dr Libby shares insights about the impact of effective communication, the pitfalls of storytelling and why using clear, concise, jargon-free communication in complex situations is essential.  

Don’t miss this episode as Dr. Libby helps us understand the value of strategic communication and how doing it well can help us thrive in complexity.


  • Analysing communication challenges effectively (03:11)
  • Recognizing the significance of good organisational communication (08:25)
  • Tailoring actions to suit the intended audience (12:20)
  • Typical challenges faced by organisations Dr. Libby works with (13:45)
  • The impact of decision-making to avoid short-term losses (15:10)
  • Engaging the audience through storytelling (16:49)
  • Focusing on the receiver’s interpretation of messages (18:39)
  • The power of a strong and supportive communications team (23:15)
  • Understanding an organisation’s non-negotiables and potential workarounds (26:50)
  • Value of central coordination and setting the right tone (29:39)
  • Tips for effectively sharing essential information (33:20) 
  • Dr. Libby’s interpretation of thriving in complexity (41:45) 
  • Advice to her 25-year-old self (43:48)


“Strategic communications is very influential, it can be used for both good and evil. And it’s a responsibility that should not be taken lightly.” -Dr Libby Mitchell 

“A communications expert would save you from sending out some bland bit of jargon-laden babble that won’t help you achieve your objectives.” -Dr Libby Mitchell 

 “It’s not about what you think the audience needs, you need to test and retest the messaging to figure it out.” -Dr Libby Mitchell 

 “You need to understand that less is more, focus on who the audience is, and leave out everything they don’t need.” -Susanne Le Boutillier  

“As a leader, you need to get up off your chair, walk the floor and have conversations with people. This gives valuable insight about how people are interpreting what they’re hearing.” -Susanne Le Boutillier

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With a blended consulting, corporate and university career that is global and multi-sector, Dr Libby Mitchell manages the social and public dimensions of delivering challenging programs and projects that demand public and private engagement, consent, and change. As a responsible and accountable leader, she motivates and inspires high-performing individuals and teams. Dr Libby effectively manages people, budgets, and projects to successful outcomes.