Browsing articles from "August, 2013"
Aug 27, 2013
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Increasing leadership accountability for communication: Part III

This month, I’ve been offering keys to help leaders support internal communications efforts. As we know, leadership buy-in is critical in order for us to develop, plan and successfully execute internal communications programs. So then, how do we get it? As a reminder, the first four keys are:

1: Start with the PROOF
2: Establish communications PURPOSE & OBJECTIVES
3: Talk about Guiding PRINCIPLES
4: Identify the PARTNERSHIPS

And finally, Key 5: Define key communications PROCESSES

Leaders understand process. That is how they think. Help them understand the core processes of communications in terms of repeatable routines and patterns for how and when communications should happen. This way, they get a tangible understanding of how they will be involved and what to expect in terms of frequency (monthly, daily, quarterly) and channels (town halls, email, blogging, etc.).

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Aug 12, 2013
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Increasing leadership accountability for communication: Part II

So how do leaders support internal communications efforts? How can we, as internal communications leaders, help them help us? In the previous post, I shared the first two keys to increasing leadership accountability. Let’s discuss keys three and four.

Key 3: Talk about Guiding PRINCIPLES: Consistency is key in communication, and it can be enhanced by establishing a set of guiding principles for communication that aligns with the values, competencies, and overall leadership gravitas that needs to be portrayed by leadership for the organization. Some likely principles will involve transparency, authenticity, and honesty. However, why not push for more unique principles that align with the culture of your organization. Does face-to-face need to be a priority? Is the organization one whose communication with employees needs to be as innovative as their communication to customers? Is your organization extremely visionary?  Use this as an opportunity to shape the communication culture of the organization and to gain alignment and commitment around it at all levels.

Key 4: Identify the PARTNERSHIPS: Communications has the unique purview to connect different components of the business together for broader impact. Helping leaders see the connections within the organization – or potential misalignment in work happening – will be of interest to leaders.

For example, consider that you have two initiatives coming out in the same company: one is to improve service; the other is around simplicity. The two must be linked in order for employees to understand the overall vision, to do things better and faster but not at the sake of overcomplicating their jobs.

Use your knowledge of work and messages that need to be connected to help leaders see opportunities to drive greater collaboration, alignment, consistency, optimal use of resources, etc.

What have been your experiences? Stay tuned for Key 5 and final remarks.

Aug 1, 2013
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Five keys to increasing leadership accountability for communication

Leadership buy-in and accountability are critical to any successful internal communications program. I think leaders understand that good internal communications drives employee engagement. And employee engagement is important. Yet, oftentimes they don’t understand what that means. And importantly, they don’t understand how to contribute or support such efforts.

So how do you get over the hump? I think the key is having a good discussion with leaders that gives them insights on the benefits of their increased communications accountability, as well as a practical way to move forward. Over the next few blog posts, I’ll be sharing with you five key topics to focus that discussion.

Key 1: Start with the PROOF: Leaders are motivated by other leaders, so it’s good to share points of view about communication being a leadership responsibility. Leaders and thinkers like Nitin Nohria, Steve Jobs, Colin Powell and Sheryl Sandburg are great to reference and provide great perspectives.

Leaders are also motivated by results. Anything you can provide that explains the impact of communications on success indicators such as financial and operational performance is sure to keep the conversation going. There are more valuable studies available these days than ever before. Two good ones that come to mind are the ROI Communications Benchmark and the Towers Watson 2011/2012 Change and Communication ROI Report.

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