Don't fix a communication problem, fix a business problem
Beware of fixing the wrong problem. Some communication problems are more worthy of your time than others.
As internal communicators our challenges are – at least on the surface – seemingly all about communication. How can we cut through the noise? How do we build awareness, understanding and action? And that old chestnut, how do we persuade reluctant senior figures to embrace the power of employee communications to drive their organisations forward?
These are important problems to solve, but only if they are linked to a specific organisational objective.
As professional communicators we are hired to find and fix business issues. We are kept busy in this endeavour because almost every challenge can be tracked back to miscommunication, poor understanding or a lack of open, transparent dialogue.
These are the areas in which we excel. Our ability to get people talking and importantly, listening to each other, is at the heart of positive, transformational change.
Before tackling a problem, I would advise practitioners to re-examine it. Ask why it matters.
If it matters because it offends your sensibilities as a communicator, flies in the face of best practice, or because someone plonked it on your to do list, think twice before fixing it.
Use your time and resources to address problems you know for certain are holding your organisation back. This requires an intimate knowledge of your organisation’s strategic plan and the obstacles – both internal and external – in its path.
The way to win over a non-believer in the power of great employee communication is not to offer him or her bigger, better communication but a bigger, better business.