Leading an organization to achieve the business goals is really a herculean task. Also, the major task is to take all the stakeholders along. The main concerns of any CEO are the following:
Increasing the share- holders wealth
Improving the organizations culture
Increasing the profitability
Developing the competency and capability levels of the work force
Managing the change
The pressure is on him/her to show the improvement and present these facts to the Board of Directors. The purpose of these series of blogs is to discuss the critical aspects of an organization that need to be given more importance as these are the pillars of the organization
In this blog I would like to discuss about the importance of communication in the organization
Communications in the organization is sacrosanct as without this the organization will not function
When the communication is right and it flows in all directions spontaneously then the right intent of the Leadership is conveyed smoothly and the feedback from the work force also moves up and timely actions will be taken
When we look into the history of any organization, the success of the organization mainly depends on the strong communication inside the organization only. A CEO should give more importance for establishing strong infrastructure for communication.
When I look at my long years of consulting experience with top rated organizations in India and abroad, I’ve seen that the communication failure had been the biggest challenge though they were good at other core competencies. A giant organization that could not restrict the attrition that was only due to the poor communication. Ironically, the Managing Director did not connect to the ground level employees due to his management style. Therefore, so many employees flocked together to competition.
For instance, his predecessor used to communicate casually with all the employees via various communication tools. He used to walk around the premises, meeting the members, chatting with them. He would participate actively in the new joiner induction training in-person and interacting with the new joiners genuinely by which he motivated the people. However, the new MD broke these channels and set-up a coterie around him. Henceforth, no direct communication from the MD to the people was available, but through this coterie team only. Therefore, the company was severely affected by rumours as the communication from the senior management team was not on time. Coincidentally, the new MD had come to that centre after shutting down one of the plants in a south American country. So, the appointment itself created fuzz among the employees, forecasting the closure of that centre also. Adding to this, the intranet by mistake, did not show the name of the centre in the list of plants and offices across the globe. This also created a big rumour of closure of the office. The MD did not care for this and did not even try to discard the fear among the employees. Therefore, people started leaving the organization and joined the competition. The panic among the work force got aggravated day by day. In any organization, there are three levels of communication.
The communication by the top leadership to the work force. This is vertical level of communication
The communication by the work force to the leadership team- This is also vertical level of communication
This is communication among the departments or Business Units or verticals
All these levels of communication are paramount in any organization. The leadership team should establish various communication methods and channels to ensure that the employees are well- informed. In my own experience with various organizations, well-informed employees were ready to sacrifice even the salary hike for the betterment of the organization as they realize the situation of the business and the industry. The following communication tools could be used:
Town hall meetings
Social media also could be used for communication. It is a myth that having sufficient tools will be ensuring good communication. In fact, it is better to have these tools, but the tools should be used consistently. Also, someone/ group needs to check the compliance of the periodicity of these communications. Otherwise, the practice will lose its rigor overtime.
In the other levels such as Bottom-up and Across communications, the organizations should have a strong system in place for the work force to give feedback to the leadership. The system should be so strong that the employees feel free to give their feedback to the top management team.
Another important point is about poor communications, this includes, miscommunication and inadequate communication. These all are impacting the organization. A survey of 400 companies with 100,000 employees shows that the cost of poor communication per company is USD 62.4 million per year*.
Miscommunication is that the intent of the communication is not conveyed correctly. This may be due to excess communication or without the specifics
Example: An MD in a meeting with the VPs: “Let’s set a goal for this year as 100 crores for every BU. As you know, I am not concerned about money. Money is secondary to me. For me it is important that you work hard, put more effort. You will be assessed based on the effort you have put in. Not based on the revenue you have brought. I hope you have got the point. Let me conclude the meeting by warning you that if you don’t achieve the target of 100 crore, I will not tolerate the failure and I may go to the extent of firing also.”
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