In this Blog Post
I'm no keen gardener, but I know that mushrooms like to be kept in dark, damp conditions. If they get too much sunlight or are allowed to dry out, then they simply don't grow.
People, on the other hand, don't grow that well when they are kept in the dark, so why do many organisations do just that when it comes to their people.
I've worked with many organisations that don't communicate all that well with their people, keeping them in the dark. If people don't know what's going in the organisation, they find it hard to grow or perform.
So, why do they get it so badly wrong, and what can organisations do to improve it?
Some organisations haven't sat down and thought about why, what, when, who and how they will communicate. If this is the case, communication comes very last minute, and people are expected to react. A lot of head-scratching goes on when things are not changing as quickly as they thought they would and worse still productivity drops.
The organisation should have a clear strategy of communication that includes:
In this digital age, we tend to rely heavily on email, simply because it's quick and easy. But, email isn't always the best method of getting a message across.
By identifying all of the channels available to the business, they can then work out the best method to get a message across. Talking to people is time-consuming, but so is fixing problems when things are miscommunicated by email.
This is where the management team pass messages down the hierarchy of the business and expect people to act. But, those people in that structure have a voice and actually may have some good ideas.
People working on the ground have the best view of the ground and will know what the issues are. A good communication strategy will include a process of two-way communication where people on the ground can feedback up the hierarchy so their ideas are heard and if warranted acted upon.
It can be extremely frustrating and de-motivational if people have ideas, but there is no forum or process for them to be listened to.
So, the challenge for organisations is simple - don't grow flowers that need to be out in the open to prosper as you would mushrooms.
If you would like to know more about building an effective communication strategy or communicating more effectively with people, we run a communication skills workshop that covers all of the above points. See the Communication Skills Overview for more.