Bringing Pretty Plaques to Life

Effective leadership means connecting the dots for employees - David Grossman

This is the truth. Too often, strategies and plans fail because the executioners do not fully understand the direction. Yes, they may have a brief which outlines what is required. Yes, they may have the tools to complete the given task. But do they fully understand the importance, the impact, the background - the why, what, where, who, when, how?

If you were to ask an employee what their company's mission or vision was, chances are some of them could rattle it off by rote. But unless there is engagement around what those words on that plaque stand for, then they are just that - words on a plaque.

This week, we started a new ad campaign and yes, we sent a brief to the agency. The truth is though, I had to connect the dots especially since this was an internally produced strategy sent to an external provider to execute. Creative they are, I am sure, but it was only in fully talking through the brief with the account executive and giving her the back story - the 5Ws and the H, bringing some relevance to the document before her, that she had that "ahhh" moment.

Employees often are taken for granted when decisions are made from way up top. The days of handing judgements down from the throne are over. The days of open communication, active engagement, soliciting feedback and opinions are here, now. Successful tactical delivery, employee satisfaction and loyalty are just some of the end results of taking internal communications to a level that goes beyond "all users" emails and memos from faceless executives. More managers, for example, have to be empowered to have cottage meetings with their staff, and to share their feedback through the management chain. The tools available to internal communicators - intranets, social platforms, video, podcasts, video conferencing, to name a few, make engagement easy and creative.

The reality is, without communication, there can be no leadership. Leaders will ultimately fail if they are not communicating regularly and effectively and all the big MBA sounding words on far reaching plans and policies will remain inanimate if there is not real passion and engagement around them and employees. Getting employees to understand and have that "ahhhhh" moment is a huge part of why companies are successful.

Are companies really ready to take the necessary steps to breathe life into words on plaques and plans?


Anonymous said...

I fear that many corporate leaders are yet to get the memo on this. "Buy in" is something that they perceive as necessary for their (external) clients and not their (primary = internal) clients. Particularly in this economy there is much talk about the words on plaques but little real two-way communication about how delivering those mandates can be facilitated in partnership with increasingly strained and frustrated employees. ~@girlfrombim

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