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.
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:
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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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