Creating a high performance organisation: Part 9 – Internal communication
Written by Jon Lister, Director of Enterprise Chartered Certified Accountants
Sales in Q4 were 2.7% above the seasonally adjusted budget.
Management wishes to express their thanks to all concerned.
A.N. Other (PA to the Board)
Now…who wouldn’t feel enthused after receiving such uplifting internal communication such as that? We may laugh, scoff or even be able to cite ‘colleagues’ who write in this manner but this is not communication…this is drivel.
Communication is a two-way exchange of information, intelligence, emotion and ideas. It is used to inform, enthuse, motivate and educate those who engage in it and yet the poorest form of communication used is commonly the internal communication of our own businesses.
• An instruction barked down a corridor?
• A two word post-it stuck on a screen?
• A ‘keep in touch’ chat with management?
• Or most depressingly of all a ‘dear colleague’ memo?
Worryingly, I suspect most of you will recognise this as the level of internal communication you are most familiar with, but let’s turn the norm on its head and set some new ground rules.
1. We address our correspondence to individuals and treat them as individuals.
2. We always remember to say please and thank you.
3. We never send correspondence just to cover our own arses or to have something ‘on record’.
4. All our correspondence will be positive in tone and will require a response from the recipient.
5. Wherever possible we will speak to people to create the environment for genuine communication to take place,
Our internal communication should be the most studied and considered within our business. It will help keep focus on the big picture (remember that? Part 4 if not) Stay aligned with the story (Part 8) and most importantly add value in some way to the jobs and lives of those working in the business.
We wouldn’t dream of sending a badly worded, impersonal email to a potential customer and yet the brief given to the sales representative going to see that potential customer could be described as ‘sketchy’ at best!
Making the investment in time and quality into internal communication will ensure deep levels of understanding, create an environment where ideas will flourish and eradicate the culture of cutting corners in the workplace.