INSIGHTS

Effective Business Communication

17 September 2021
Find ways to make leaders more visible and engaged.

Although I do value written forms of communication, they are not the key to creating a successful business environment. If you want to create a successful environment where people feel empowered and valued, you have to find ways to make leaders more visible and engaged with as many of them as possible.

The most important step is to make sure you design a leadership structure that allows the leaders at all levels to have as many one on one quality conversations as possible. You need to look to move away from any directive type of leadership style and allow leaders to have more time to better coach and guide their teams. Leaders must plan to have those quality conversations so they can observe and better understand more of our team’s beliefs and behaviours.

It is those beliefs and behaviours that ultimately create the environment that enables a culture to deliver your business purpose.

You also need to establish specific levels of communication to help gather and disperse communication. You must educate your business on how to communicate through the “Operational Spine”.

Below is an example of an Operational Spine and its leadership levels in a large scale retail business.

It is important that everyone within the business understands that if they want to effect any change or test any initiative that it has to be implemented strictly through the “operational spine”.

You can not allow key change or communication to go straight to the front line team (store teams) without all the levels in the spine above knowing why and what the plan is. Keeping to this discipline will help you create true alignment and pretty effectively ensure best practice execution of any strategy. Otherwise if any of the leaders at any level of the spine are not aware of what is going on they are likely to stop the activity very quickly.

The advantage of the operational spine is that you can then set up proper communication meetings at all levels and you can effectively disperse communication but also more effectively receive communication back. You can establish weekly and monthly forums at all levels and you will really start to make progress when you are able to actively listen and then act on the great feedback from your teams.

I have never been a great fan of phone conferences, as it is very hard for the presenters and the listeners to keep engaged but sometimes they are essential. Videos and power point presentations are good although they are often a clumsy way to disperse in mass.

The most effective communication will always be made in person but there is now a great alternative with the advent of social media platforms  such as a “Facebook at Work” media site. I still love the personal interaction you get from a group meeting or from an individual one on one but if that is not possible due to time, costs or a pandemic like the Coronavirus. Then using a social media platform is an absolute winner compared to the alternatives.

The secret is to have a plan to build a communication strategy around more purposefully using it. If your senior leaders can not be in all parts of the business as frequently as liked. Then the next best thing to help you create engagement, belief and commitment from the team is to make them more accessible through social media.

You need to make a plan for who posts or speaks to what and how often. You need to encourage the entire operational spine to contribute their thoughts on any initiative or for anyone in the business to share their own work and life experiences.

You need to find a way to make sure you create the right environment for communication. Such as when creating new video content that you encourage your leaders to be natural, with no specific script just their own version of the key messages along with a challenge to complete in a single take.

That will demonstrate to your teams that their leaders are real and even if they make an occasional mistake or have an extra um then they will still be happy to go with it. It is important to remember that the message is the most important thing. Being natural and real will make their messages more believable and also it encourages more of the team to have the confidence to share a message as well.

This blog is a modified extract from my new book and we also highlight these key thought processes in more depth within our My Purpose Workshops, visit mypurpose.co.nz to check our Services and to order the book.

The My Purpose method

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