- You’ll never get 100%
- Leaders have to care about it
- You are responsible for staying informed
I have a personal philosophy about internal communication. Generally, I think it is a topic that people, by default, complain about. Internal communication comes up as a problem in the workplace with some regularity. And when it does, the song playing in my head has three verses:
Verse 1: You’ll never get 100%, but that’s the expectation. I’ve done all kinds of internal communication – HR, IT, community organizations … skip the rest of the list. Time after time, it goes something like this: we develop and deploy a rock-solid communication plan for an audience of say 7,000. When 6 people in that 7,000 call because they didn’t know, we spend time talking about this .00085% failure rate as an alarming example of an internal communication problem that must be solved immediately. My response (sometimes with my inside voice, usually with my outside voice)? Here it is: an expectation that any internal communication plan will be 100% effective is not reasonable.
Verse 2: There is a strong correlation between the quality of the internal communication on my team and our success. I don’t underestimate the value of a work team that is (and feels) informed. Because I know that the best leaders foster environments with a high level of internal communication, I spend a lot of personal time on it. Recently, I confirmed with my creative services team the methods in place for internal communication. I provided a printed list of the many options including team meetings, come into my office and sit down, listservs, chat, a project management system, the ticket tracking system, shared calendars, your supervisor, others on the team, social media, and the ever popular yell down the hall.
Verse 3: Yes, I’d like to have Jiminy Crickett on my shoulder all day – while he’s helping me with right and wrong, he can whisper what’s new and what I need to know. Not going to happen. Instead, the standard around here is that you are responsible for staying informed. We all contribute to the channels in place and we all pay attention to them so that we know what’s going on. If you’re feeling uninformed, start paying more attention. If you are out of the loop because the communication tools need to be improved or changed, say so.
Message received? Over and out.