Monday, December 04, 2006

Leadership Communication Chapter 9: Establishing Leadership Through Strategic Internal Communication

Chapter 9: Establishing Leadership through Strategic Internal Communication

Recognizing the strategic role of employee communication For employee communication to play a strategic role in organization, the leader must realize its importance in accomplishing the company’s strategic objectives and performance goals and integrate it into the company’s overall strategy and business processes. Your communication to employees needs to support the strategy and the performance goals, and all communication with them needs to position them to help you achieve those goals. Therefore, you should think about how best to accomplish the following basic employee communication objectives:
1. Educate employees in the company vision and strategic goals.
2. Motivate employee support for the company’s strategy.
3. Encourage higher performance and discretionary effort.
4. Limit misunderstandings and rumors that may damage productivity.
5. Align employees behind the company’s performance objectives and position them to help achieve them.

Assessing employee communication effectiveness. Before developing an internal communication strategy, you may want to use the scorecard to uncover how your organization stands in relation to the best practices for internal communication.

Establishing effective internal communications. The effective internal communication consists of the following:
1. Supportive management—managers should model the communication behavior they expect of their employees.
2. Targeted messages—effective communication depends on making all messages specific to the audience receiving them.
3. Effective media/forum—companies may need to communicate internal messages through several different media to reach all employees.
4. Well-positioned staff—the communication staff must be positioned close to the most important business issues and decisions and involved in the strategic and business planing processes for internal communication to be fully effective.
5. Ongoing assessment—you need to demonstrate clearly that you consider good communication to be valuable and important.

Using missions and divisions to strengthen internal communication
- Understanding the importance of missions and visions—effective mission and vision statements can : 1) inspire individual action, determine behavior, and fuel motivation., 2) Establish a firm foundation of goals, standard and objectives to guide corporate planner and managers.,3) Satisfy both the company’s need for efficiency and the employees’ need for group identity., 4) provide direction, which is particularly important in times of change, to keep everone moving toward the same goals.

- Defining missions and visions: Mission—a statement of the reason a company exists that is intended primarily for internal use. ; Visions—describe an inspiring new reality, achievable in a well-understood and reasonable time frame.

- Ensuring the mission and vision are effective—can be helpful in guiding employees.

- Building an effective mission and vision. There are three approaches to building a vision: 1) CEO/leadership developed, 2) Leader-senior team visioning, 3) Bottom-up visioning. You might take the following steps in a leader-led, interactive, employee-involved approach to building a mission and a vision:
1. Create initial draft—bring the right employees, usually a cross section of organizational leaders, together to create the initial draft of the mission and vision.
2. Clarify the meaning.
3. Tell the world in 25 words or less what you are and what you want to become.
4. Develop the strategic objectives to make the vision specific and actionable.
5. Hold cascading meetings with employees to test the mission and the vision.

Designing and implementing effective change communication
- Detemining the scope of the change communication program
- Structuring a communication program for major change

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