I was in a meeting in a few weeks ago when this question was asked: “Why might this project fail?” My friend Brad responded, “The same reason most projects fail. Communication, communication, communication.”
We have more ways to communicate than ever before, yet we don’t seem to be making progress in communicating more effectively. Some of the reasons for that:
Employees want communication about:
For better or worse, when communicated to, most of us think first, “what’s in it for me?” So, when change occurs, promotions are made, or people join or leave the organization, we look for the impact on our role, our expectations, and how we connect to the organization. As leaders, we should ensure that our communications address this.
A change for leaders, then, is to ask ourselves:
The rule of seven is one of the oldest concepts in marketing. … The rule of seven simply says that the prospective buyer should hear or see the marketing message at least seven times before they buy it from you.(TutorialsPoint)
Assume this rule is the same for all communication! What might seem like overkill from a leader can still seem like new information to an employee. It took me a while – ok, a long time – to realize this. As an HR Director, if I was working on a new initiative or rolling out a new policy, I would forget how long I had worked on it, researched it, talked to others, and thought about how best to communicate, so in my head it was engrained, it was complete, it was right. My expectation, then, was that everyone would be ready to go, adopt it immediately, and it would be smooth sailing thereafter. I was frustrated to hear later comments like, “I didn’t hear anything about it,” “when did that come out?” and “why wasn’t this communicated?”. In my mind, it was perfect, but they needed to hear it 7 times.
Communicate before, during, and after.
Do you or your employees need guidance on communicating more effectively? Purple Ink has several workshops about communication, and we even offer communication skills coaching. Reach out to us – we’d be happy to discuss the best solution for you and your team.