Communication drives everything in a business. If the communication is effective, the business will succeed. If the communication is ineffective, the business will either fail or be a nightmare filled with frustrations, low morale, low productivity, high lost time, unhappy customers and more.
This is a strong statement which I'm sure will create immediate push back from some people. So – let's break it down.
All businesses have a purpose, a mission, a vision and values that guide operations. Even if these aren't specifically expressed, they're communicated by the behavior of the leaders in the business. We all pay attention to the behavior of others, often more so then their words. Behavior is a form of communication.
If purpose, mission, vision & values aren't clearly and consistently articulated and exemplified by the leaders in the business, the employees will be working without direction and will never be fully engaged in their work. Most employees will do their best with good intentions, but there's a high probability that what they do will be out of alignment with the tenets of the business. The effectiveness of the communication relative to these items determines the quality of the results produced.
We all perform at our best when we understand and agree to a well-defined structure that guides our performance. If the definition of that structure isn't clearly and consistently articulated, performance and productivity will suffer. The effectiveness of the communication relative to these things determines the quality of the results produced.
We also perform at our best when we do work that's fulfilling and challenging for us, we know what's expected of us, and we know how our performance will be measured. These things should be addressed in the hiring and assimilation processes initially, and consistently reviewed and reinforced through managing and coaching. The effectiveness of the communication relative to these things determines the quality of the results produced.
Every exchange of information in a business and all the information delivered to the employees of a business affects performance and productivity.
So – how do you know the internal communication in your business is producing the results you want? Do you talk with your employees about the effectiveness of communication? Do you ask if they know and agree with the purpose, mission, vision and values of the business? Do you ask if the policies and procedures that guide their work are clear and complete? Do you ask if they have everything they need to do their jobs well and succeed as individuals? Do you ask if they think they're managed well?
If you ask these questions, do you ask them with an open mind and with no predetermined expectations? If not, you should.
The quality and effectiveness of the internal communication in your business is the most important contributor to the growth and success of your business. It should be continuously monitored and improved.