The process of running an effective business is built on a foundation of good communication. Yet good communication eludes us. It seems that the fundamentals of how we communicate are broken.
Take a moment to consider how things would be different if everyone in your organization were on the same page, communicating effectively, and working together.
For one thing, you would no longer be hearing statements like these, which are commonplace in most organizations:
- “I get so many emails.”
- “Everything I am told is repeated everywhere.”
- “Everything I hear or read is another ask.”
- “I’ve stopped paying attention, if it’s important they will call me.”
The cost of bad communication is staggering terms of wasted time at HQ, slowness to move, and missed opportunities. That’s why it’s time to break the mold. My goal in this article is to help you turn communications from your biggest headache into your most important asset.
Here are solutions that are not theoretical – I have seen them work.
The Big Idea: Cultivate a More Positive Company Culture
There is a powerful tie-in between a positive company culture and effective communication. When the people who send and receive communications have a positive outlook, the effectiveness of communications improves dramatically.
You can’t fake a positive company culture. To supercharge the effectiveness of your communications, concentrate on building a company culture that is genuinely positive.
Over the last few years, I have discovered an approach to becoming more positive that I call “The Three Things.” I first started using it in my family. I asked each person in my family to come to dinner prepared to talk about three things that happened during the day that made them feel happy. At first my kids resisted. But then we began to notice that as we went through our days, we were on the lookout for good things to talk about at dinner. That process of always looking for good things, not bad, got us to begin to see the world in positive and motivating ways, not negative. The results exceeded all expectation, and I believe that similar approaches can reorient company cultures.
This concept of positive messaging is important. Focus on looking for what is working well, and sharing that information. If you compare that to what you are doing today, chances are you will find that a lot of your communication is purely functional and driven by statements like, “We need you to do this” or, “We need to stop doing that.”
Creating a culture of positivism impacts everything. It will change how your franchisees feel about the system, their willingness to listen and more important, do. Now, I would like to share some of the specifics which, when used in conjunction with a positive culture, really get things done.
What to Stop!
- Sending information to people who don’t need to receive it. You may need to create separate distributions lists for different categories of information.
- Sending emails with every bit of detailed information on them. Instead, insert “teasers” in them that link to complete information that you post on your internet or intranet site.
- Repeating yourself by sending the same message two or three times. When people learn that you won’t keep sending the same information, they will take the time to read it the first time.
- Being negative and using negative talk in communications.
What to Start!
- Open each communication with a “Why” and “What’s in It for Me?” to get people excited to read your message or news.
- Share the vision for the future and let people see the big picture strategy.
- Share positive stories.
- Communicate in an energized and positive way.
- Have a monthly “all hands” web call to present information in an interesting and positive way.
- Create different communications for people who perform different roles, and share with everyone what they need to know.
- Use email to tease stories, but direct readers to your internet or intranet to read stories.
- Have a communication plan and communicate your expectations about the communication roles that everyone should play throughout the system.
- Appoint a person to be the hub of all communication in your organization. His or her role should be to make sure everything’s on message and that you aren’t over-saturating the system with too much information or too many communications.
In Summary . . .
Once you break the mold and revolutionize your communications system, your organization will be transformed. Messages will be positive and people will be energized. Communications will include that all-important “What’s in it for me?” message and people will be glad to hear about the new opportunities that you have waiting for them.
And because people will be getting just the right amount of information – not too little, not too much – they will be leaner, more energized – and ready to take on the world and do the work that really needs to be done.