Communication strategy during a time of strategic planning

Written by Lee Hopkins

"Rubbish!" shoutedrepparttar large, aggressive man inrepparttar 107967 red-striped shirt (we had to pay attention to him because he ownedrepparttar 107968 company).

"The staff don't need to be told anything. When we've sorted out allrepparttar 107969 details and haverepparttar 107970 adverts ready to run, then we'll tell them. They don't need to know beforehand, it'll only stop them working" he went on to loudly proclaim.

It's hard to ignorerepparttar 107971 wishes of your client, especially when he's paying you so well and has browbeaten every other consultant, as well as his management team, into submission.

Yet my experience, again and again, is this:

If you don't tell them what's going on, they'll make it up anyway!

Employees not present at strategic planning offsite meetings aren't dumb; they're just not present. They know you're away (they think probably planningrepparttar 107972 future ofrepparttar 107973 company, their jobs and their salary cuts), so they will gossip and rumour-monger to their heart's discontent while you are not 'mindingrepparttar 107974 store'.

So planning your internal communication is an essential prerequisite to effective and committed implementation of any business strategy. It also goes a long way towards problem minimisation.

In order to minimiserepparttar 107975 internal and external risks of gossip and rumours, therefore, you should have it very firmly set in your mind that a communication outliningrepparttar 107976 outcome ofrepparttar 107977 planning should arrive with all due speed, consistency and completeness.

The following guidelines have been tested by experience and found useful:

1. Design and agree The communication strategy should be designed and agreed by all as part ofrepparttar 107978 planning process, not an adjunct activity delegated to a junior manager who, in all probability, wasn't even atrepparttar 107979 planning meeting.

Dialogue: the four dialogic principles for successful communication

Written by Lee Hopkins

"But you don't understand!" exclaimedrepparttar manager, "this new initiative is vital for our team. If it doesn't work we could all be out of a job!"

"Uh-huh... Really... Explain to me again how this new initiative is so different from previous initiatives that were also going to cost me my job if they didn't work" askedrepparttar 107966 long-term employee.

"Look; we have to do this. Can't you see?"

"Why do we have to do this? No-one has explained to me yet 'why'."

And therein liesrepparttar 107967 fundamental problem of most management initiatives. They leave one small, seemingly insignificant cog unattended—lettingrepparttar 107968 person atrepparttar 107969 'sharp end' know why a new initiative has been launched and what their own personal role is expected to be.

Even those companies who do letrepparttar 107970 employees knowrepparttar 107971 what and why very often fail to elicit anything other than tacit compliance and eventual failure ofrepparttar 107972 initiative.

The reason is simple—the employees are given no part inrepparttar 107973 discussion about why a new initiative is needed,repparttar 107974 business case for it, what shaperepparttar 107975 initiative should take to meetrepparttar 107976 business need, and what their individual role and responsibility is in order to bringrepparttar 107977 initiative to a successful conclusion.

Atrepparttar 107978 heart ofrepparttar 107979 issue lies communication:

Successful communication is not a one-to-one or one-to-many transaction, but a dialogue between interested parties

...and successful dialogues rely on four principles: Reality, Reaction, Co-ordination and Purposefulness.

1. Being real "Do not say things. What you are stands over yourepparttar 107980 while, and thunders so that I cannot hear what you say torepparttar 107981 contrary" Charles Darwin, 1859.

For employees (and customers, too!) 'reality' will be those things that most directly affect them. Yes, 'reality' is a perceptive subjectivity, but don't expect someone to change their perception of 'reality' just because you have a different viewpoint.

Internal and external customers of your communication are extremely adapt at seeing 'beyondrepparttar 107982 rhetoric', at exploiting any gap between rhetoric and their 'reality'.

If you are going to promise something, even just manage an expectation, ensure that what you are promising or managing is actually deliverable inrepparttar 107983 vast majority of instances.

2. React to what is said How many managers or salespeople have we ourselves had to endure who listened politely to what you say, nodded their head and gave assuring "ah ha's" even, yet completely and utterly fail to act on what you have said? How many times have such interactions left you feeling like you had just spoken to a smiling and amiable wall?

Dialogue is not dialogue ifrepparttar 107984 other person or persons don't react or show they actually understood what you said.

3. Co-ordinate your communication Too oftenrepparttar 107985 communication is 'lost' onrepparttar 107986 recipients because repparttar 107987 language used is jargon, or their are just too many implicit and explicit messages. Given a hundred different messages, which one shouldrepparttar 107988 recipient attend to first? Second? Last?

All communication should be in harmony torepparttar 107989 strategic framework—that is,repparttar 107990 vision andrepparttar 107991 support documentation—so that it responds torepparttar 107992 vision, objectives and values; so that repparttar 107993 links betweenrepparttar 107994 vision andrepparttar 107995 messages are clear; and so thatrepparttar 107996 language used is common to all stakeholders.

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