Poor communication is often cited as the problem or one of the biggest problems existing in organizations. Ineffective communication gets in the way of a positive work culture and puts limits on the intentional practice of improvement. How do we resolve the challenges of communication with our team? Do we need to send more emails, memos, meetings? Certainly not. We train our leaders to communicate “the why” as a first step to improving communication.
Crafting and Delivering the Right Message
“Are you sending the right message, at the right time, in the right way, to the right audience?” It’s one of the questions posed by Dr. JoAnn Sternke in her recent article for the AASA Journal. JoAnn advises leaders to begin each message with “the why”. Why are we making a change? Why do we need to meet? By explaining “the why”, we create a better opportunity for “buy in” and improve the impact of our communication. “The why” provides context for what is occurring and helps the entire team understand the direction of the organization and where they fit into it.
Be Transparent with Results
Another way that leaders can involve theirs teams meaningful discussions about why, what, and how improvement occurs is by openly sharing data. Dr. Janet Pilcher, Managing Director of Studer Education, outlines specific tactics that leaders use to create “a great place to learn, work and achieve.” If you can effectively deploy these tactics, you will get better results in the areas that matter, because you are improving the quality (not quantity) of your communication. One way to effectively share data is through a Survey Results Rollout Process. This tactic provides steps for sharing results with your team in a way that focuses on improving practice. Use the Survey Results Rollout to identify ways to improve service to everyone you serve.
Begin with Why
Improvement requires change, and change is uncomfortable. If leaders communicate why the change is happening, employees have a better understanding of the purpose behind the change and are more likely to be willing to pivot. When our entire team is on board with a change in process or practice, we are much more likely to experience successful transformation.
In your next team meeting, try starting your communication with the why.