6 Do’s and Don’ts for Organizational Communication
“Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than in the one where they sprang up.” Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr3
- DO: OVER-COMMUNICATE Vision and Values. It doesn’t matter if you think everyone has heard it or knows them. 99% of the time the executive team thinks they have beat it into the ground and the rest of the team couldn’t tell you what they are.
- DO: COMMUNICATE THE SELF EVIDENT – or, at least if it’s a Core Value. Many leaders tell me that don’t need to communicate positive attitude, friendliness, excellence, or integrity. And after all, these are the team that makes it happen. However, core values shape the culture, and communicating them drives the values from a list on the wall to culture that can be experienced. For example the Declaration of Independence; “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,…” Some things may not be self evident later- and that is precisely when they are needed most.
- DO: COMMUNICATE WITH YOURSELF – Strange but true. We communicate in our mind about our external factors and internally how we feel about ourselves all the time. Actually, at the alarming rate of 60 million bits of information per second. Be intentional and positive about what you are saying to yourself. The organization will pick up on (and believe) what your attitude and body language are saying faster than your words. What is going on in your head will effect your message.
- DON’T: FOLLOW THE “3 TIMES MODEL”- I have seen many times where people from some antiquated speech class are told this “Say what you are going to say, say it, and say what you said.” Argh! Please stop doing this. We live in the information age and don’t need to be told what you are going to say- just say it. And don’t follow it up by telling me what you just said, I know… I was there, I will wonder if you were.
- DON’T FOLLOW THE PREACHER’S MODEL – If you visit church, you will most likely find it is still customary to sit and listen as the preacher speaks for a period of time and then the congregation goes home. I don’t know why this is still the custom or why it ever became one in churches. But in organizations, this is a bad idea. Nobody wants to be preached to or at. Communication is a 2 way street and learning through lecture is the least effective style of learning there is. Find a way to create a 2 way street, even if you have to give a speech. Texting, comments on social media, and asking questions are all easy ways to turn a lecture into something more effective.
- DON’T IGNORE THE HUMAN ELEMENT – Many meetings in 2010 existed of tough conversations, and decisions that involved cutting, trimming, or furloughing people. Sometimes this bad news must be communicated, but ignoring or not placing a high value on the human emotion as it’s communicated will destroy the culture and moral faster than lighting the place on fire. Never speak until you know what others are thinking, feeling, and experiencing before you open the can of communication.