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Improve Communication When Times are Bad [Fulfillment@Work]

Fulfillment @ Work




February 16th, 2010
   ISSN: 1533-3906

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Please forward this newsletter about improving communication during tough times to your family, friends, and coworkers.

To subscribe to Fulfillment@Work, click here.

They say any sailor can navigate on calm seas. It's when the waves are the roughest, when the boat is in peril, that a captain's skills are truly tested.

The same is true with business leaders.

When navigating their companies through these difficult economic times, smart executives are placing a priority to communicating to their customers, employees and shareowners.

Being proactive not only will earn their trust and confidence of these key audiences, it pays off on the bottom line, too.

A recent study found that companies that communicated effectively over the past five years achieved a 47 percent higher total return than those companies that didn't. According to Rosalind Watson, a communication consultant with Towers Watson, if you invested $100 in a company that emphasized communication, your nest egg would now be worth $130. Meanwhile, your stock in a poor communicating company would be worth just $83.

That's a pretty hefty return on investment, considering it costs very little to provide open, honest, timely communication.

So what are some ways to communicate effectively when times are bad?

I invite you to read the article below. Also, I encourage you to share with me some of the ways you and your management team are communicating within your organization. I'd love to share your ideas and experiences with our readers in a future newsletter.

I look forward to hearing from you!



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Six Tips to Improve Communication When Times are Bad

The longer this recession continues, the greater the need for leaders to be engaged and to find new and better ways to communicate with their employees.

Here are some ways leading edge executives are doing this:

  1. Provide a candid assessment of the current the situation.
    Give an honest status report on the overall health of the organization. Outline the major problems or challenges.

  2. Focus on the steps you are taking to overcome these challenges.
    Most employees want to know why the management is doing the things they are doing so the more informed they are, the less worried they become.

  3. Communicate as much as is necessary so employees feel informed.
    You want your team to be informed. You want them to feel comfortable coming to you during this time so it's important for you to encourage communication about the recession and how it is affecting them.

  4. Appreciate the effort and hard work your employees are doing daily.
    They need to know you care, you appreciate their work and understand their concerns. The more appreciation they feel, the more inspired they can be in the work they do. Make sure you appreciate people one-on-one so it's customized to specifically to that person.

  5. Provide them with hope.
    Discuss why 2010 should be better than 2009. However, it's still going to be a difficult year and the signs of recovery will be slow and not overly impressive. 2010 will be the beginning of the recovery process which is positive news.

  6. Use as many communication channels as possible.
    But, as leaders, your focus should be on face-to-face communication. Get out of the corner office. Make the human connection, look them in the eye, and answer their questions. In other words, be there for them. As former Secretary of State and Army General Colin Powell once said, "The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership."


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"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place."

~ George Bernard Shaw


"When I get ready to talk to people, I spend two thirds of the time thinking what they want to hear and one third thinking about what I want to say."

~ Abraham Lincoln


"You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say."

~ Martin Luther

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Copyright 2010, Joel Garfinkle, all rights reserved.
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~ (510) 339-3201



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