Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Walk the Talk

I just read a very interesting blog that elaborates on some of my ideas on informal communication.

What Goman says is that
"if the individuals in an organization don’t agree with the stated rational, if they haven’t been involved in developing the strategic plan, and if they don’t trust the messages they hear from leadership, there will be no successful change."
What people see is more powerful than what is said.
". . . nothing is more depressing than watching corporate communicators struggle to convince an audience with words that run contrary to organizational symbols and leadership behaviors. If an organization is filled with signs of executive privilege (corporate dining room, over-the-top executive compensation, reserved parking spaces, etc.) and the change message is: “We’re all in this together!” — that message will be derailed by the far more convincing corporate symbols. Likewise, if the stated message is “Let’s all collaborate!” and employees sense that senior leadership does not work well together, the collaboration message hasn’t a chance."
Companies need to be mindful of informal communications when trying to create change. Informal communication is often more powerful than formal communication. Employees need and want speeches from senior leaders and official communications in newsletters or internal company blogs. Formal communication delivers messages the company WANTS to deliver, WHEN management feels is right. In contrast, informal communications, such as the grapevines delivers the messages (whether correct or incorrect) when the Employee is ready to hear the message. If the grapevine controls the communications, it is not always delivered in the well-rehearsed or planned scope that management may desire. Employees may pay attention to what ISN'T being said. In the absence of communications, employees will try to explain things in their own way.

Managers will do well to remember this quote from the blog:
If leaders at any level of an organization want to be perceived as credible and forthright, they have to think “outside the speech.” That’s where they’ll recognize the importance of what isn’t being said, but is being communicated.

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