The old saying states ”Communication always fails” – why?
Leadership teams put a lot of time and energy to create a fantastic vision – so when the action starts, direction and objectives are rather clear to them. On the contrary to the rest of the organization which may not be at all aware of what is going to happen.
One of the leadership teams’ top responsibilities is to ensure company’s success on the long run which means that their focus can easily shift further into the future – no matter how strategic change is still in full speed. This confession I’ve heard from several executives during my career.
Another aspect is that in spite of all the pressure of challenging on-going acquisition activities to harmonize company cultures, operation models and systems – keeping daily business up and running must equally have a strong focus. There are certainly many balls in the air so one or some of them might temporarily fall.
Do you have patience to repeat your vision message?
Building common understanding is nevertheless necessary and requires active and continuous repetition both with formal and informal communication events and channels. It is good to keep in mind that leading by example is still one of the most powerful means. One casually made doubt of the direction or reaching the targeted benefits around the coffee table can destroy weeks or months work of creating motivation.
Based on my own experience, branding change programs is one way to increase interest and positive attitude. Using visualisation, suitable “nickname” or abbreviation for the program, logos, slogans etc. for internal marketing will for sure have a totally different effect than talking of “Process- and System Renewal” project. Branding is as well an excellent way to repeat the same message with various ways.
Do you master the dialog – are you really listening and do you react?
”Work is not a place” (Työ ei ole paikka) is the title of a book published recently by Jussi Roine and Juha Anttila. This could not be more true as working remote is everyday life to many of us which we manage with the help of numerous technical tools.
We all know that creating common understanding is easiest face-to-face. We also know that it is not always possible in today’s business life which means special communication challenges e.g. for project organizations spread all over one country or even all over the world. Video and Skype meetings simply block part of the essential communication power when face expressions are hard to see, we often tend to suppress our gestures and the quality of voice may not be optimal.
It is always important that business and project management strives to listen with a sensitive ear for weak signals to be able to respond and modify leadership actions accordingly. While working remote on separate locations without personal contact, mastering this ability becomes a must.
Huge advantages of digitalization are without a doubt beneficial and worthwhile to be used – but it cannot (at least yet) totally replace the human “factor” e.g. in analysing critical business information. Same applies to succeeding in strategic change programs when the main goal is to ensure and increase the competitiveness of the company.
Competitiveness can only be reached by people’s ability to adopt new information and utilize it in the correct way. This definitely requires dialog, feedback and reaction to the feedback with right measures – also face-to-face.