Corporations need strong and effective leadership if they are to fulfil their potential and achieve their goals, but what happens when a lack of clarity muddies the waters of transparent communication?
This is an issue that Chris Myers, founder and CEO of BodeTree, is passionate to discuss and one that we at Primeast believe is equally important to understand when creating a business that is able to perform at its best.
Writing for Forbes, Chris argued that a good leader is one that can effectively relate their corporate goals and ideals, while at the same time getting staff and customers onboard with their vision for the future.
Effective communication is important in all aspects of life, but perhaps none more so than in the realm of business, and especially when outlining what it is that a corporation hopes to achieve.
The pitfalls of a failure to communicate
Given the importance of achieving positive employee engagement in today's fast-paced and ever-changing corporate landscape, Chris relates the problem of poor communication resulting in confusion within many firms - something that he argues can have a significant and detrimental impact on overall performance and means many teams and individuals could be working in a manner that is misaligned to overarching business goals.
Confusing language, hyperbole, a lack of clarity of vision, mixed messages and conflicting information - all of these are issues that can arise when communication within a business is not at its best, and the impact that this can have on team productivity, trust and performance can be dire indeed.
Furthermore, problems can quickly snowball when communication is not clear, as any message that was originally intended to be relayed becomes diluted or twisted if it is not phrased correctly.
In many cases, it is the age-old problem of second and third-hand information that creates this confusion, as whether intentionally or not, each new layer of communication (be that a director, a customer or simply team members speaking to one another) presents an opportunity for the original meaning to be lost. Leaving any important message open to interpretation could therefore lead to considerable confusion - and this is an issue that many businesses currently face.
What anyone hoping to provide a clear and concise vision to their staff should therefore remember is that the reasons for transparent communication are both plentiful and powerful. Developing the ability to deliver a clear and concise message to every department, team and individual within their company should therefore be of paramount importance.
Provide purpose to teams and individuals alike
Transparency in communication is a premise that ties in well to the Primeast approach of promoting excellence through a focus on unified goals and ensuring all staff are working towards a single shared purpose.
When communicating the overriding ethos of a business, it is important for everyone to have their say in the development of this prime purpose, as this ensures that all staff, from the CEO to the youngest new starter, has a chance to provide input into how they believe the organisation should ideally operate.
By having an open and honest discussion of these overarching goals and by allowing everyone to provide input into their creation/maintenance, leaders are creating an atmosphere of trust and interaction that will permeate all aspects of the corporate structure. By securing the buy-in of members of staff to the overriding corporate approach, businesses can ensure that everyone is working from the same page and is pulling in the same direction towards achieving these goals.
Furthermore, when teams have a common goal to aim for and are all working harmoniously to achieving this purpose, then productivity, morale and overall performance will be much improved. It is also true that when businesses take the time to communicate effectively with their staff it begins to shift the relationship of employer/employee from one of a purely transactional nature - I'm paid to do this job, therefore I do it - to one where individuals are truly engaged with the aims of the business.
What does it take to communicate clearly?
So, now we understand the benefits of taking a clear and concise approach to communication, how can this be achieved in practice? It might seem daunting at first, but there are some simple steps to making more transparent and effective communication a reality.
- Paint a picture - bring purpose and vision to life by being verbose and eloquent. Storytelling is a fine art, but when it comes to transparent communication, there is no substitute for leaders having a clear vision themselves of what they are trying to achieve.
- Make all communication easy to understand - avoid the use of confusing language and try to make the message as simple as possible when relaying ideas. By making the language and message as simple as it can be, you are reducing the likelihood that people can embellish or confuse parts of what you are trying to say.
- Consistency is everything - above all else, it is imperative that leaders hoping to disseminate a clear message take the necessary time to hammer out the details and ensure everyone is on the same page before opening up a dialogue to the rest of the company and beyond. Practice and repetition should also be viewed as being key elements of transparent communication, as they enable the same message to be relayed every time.
Ultimately, leaders should aim to 'keep it simple' and ensure their message is one that is both easy to understand and to pass on to others. Indeed, experienced company leader Chris Myers agrees that by creating a culture of transparency within a business and by ensuring there is clarity in communicating purpose across the board, real benefits to overall corporate performance can be achieved.
To find out more about cultural transformation, we explain the process we underwent using one of the models or assessments we employ when supporting our clients through cultural transformation read Why we took the test (Barrett Values).