SuperManager

SuperManager: The Organization Communication Conversation

October 14, 2019 Season 1 Episode 19
SuperManager
SuperManager: The Organization Communication Conversation
Chapters
00:00:38
Real Life, Real Time Communication Model
00:01:32
Interaction
00:03:44
Speed of Dissemenating Information
00:04:27
Availability of Information and Access
00:07:54
Relevance of Information
00:09:04
Inclusion and Authenticity
00:12:17
Horror Stories
SuperManager
SuperManager: The Organization Communication Conversation
Oct 14, 2019 Season 1 Episode 19
Samantha C Naes - CN Video Production

Communication is essential for an organization to be successful. What are some ways that managers can help communication flow efficiently within an organization? How can miscommunication be avoided? How important is it that information gets shared with employees?

Found out by being a super fly on the wall during this podcast discussion with:

Samantha Naes - CN Video Production (Corporate Video Production)
Les Landes - Landes & Associates (Employee Engagement and Marketing Communications)

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Communication is essential for an organization to be successful. What are some ways that managers can help communication flow efficiently within an organization? How can miscommunication be avoided? How important is it that information gets shared with employees?

Found out by being a super fly on the wall during this podcast discussion with:

Samantha Naes - CN Video Production (Corporate Video Production)
Les Landes - Landes & Associates (Employee Engagement and Marketing Communications)

Speaker 1:
0:00
[inaudible]
Speaker 2:
0:02
you're listening to super manager, the podcast for people who manage people and business with ideas, trends, and expert interviews to help you be a super manager. I consider myself to be a real [inaudible], a real
Speaker 1:
0:15
problem solver. And so whenever there's a problem, I always say, but why did that happen? But why did that happen? But why did that happen? And you take it all the way back to the root. And I found that most of the time the root of a lot of problems is communication. It's poor communication. Everything could have been solved if communication would have been better. So I'm here with less Landis and I think this is a really great topic. Talking about organizational communication less. You were telling me earlier that there are seven elements of organizational communication that you feel are important. Yeah. I actually, uh, you know, several years ago I created this model. I call it real life, real time communication because I think a lot of this stuff that we tend to do, it gets a little artificial at times. And so I thought that it's really important to have a framework that made sense for people to, when you say, when you say gets a little artificial, you mean people kind of say things out of habit that they don't mean that they're not really truly communicating or what do you mean by that?
Speaker 1:
1:10
Yeah, I mean there tends to be kind of a rote thing that people do. And in organizational communication, let's put out a newsletter, let's put out a video, let's do this, let's do that. Instead of understanding the entire dynamic of what's involved in organizational communication in order for people to really feel connected. Okay. Yeah. And so the very first one is interaction, and this is probably the one that I feel strongest about because people tend to think that communication is simply about creating and crafting and distributing great messages. Well, that's the first step, but unless there's some kind of dynamic that's created in the process that allows for feedback, yeah, there's no communication that's taking place. I mean, I like to joke that what people tend to call one way communication is like one hand clapping. I mean it may move the air around but it isn't going to make much of a connection.
Speaker 1:
2:01
Let the record show. I am clapping with [inaudible] so you have to really make sure that there are processes and systems that really ensure that communication as a closed loop to it so people are making connection. I feel like you were talking earlier about putting out newsletters and kind of the one way communication and I was thinking it sounds more like marketing to me then communication. Yeah. I don't know if they're trying to sell people or if they're really just trying to fulfill an obligation to give people information. Nothing wrong with that, but it's just the first step until you get some kind of response in some kind of interaction. Communication is hardly ever taking place. We have a client, my favorite client, and I've actually brought them up on previous podcasts and yes, it is the same client. They truly are one of my favorites.
Speaker 1:
2:46
They do regular videos for employees. They have branches throughout Illinois and st Louis area and just to make people feel included because not everybody's at headquarters. They get together regularly. They do, Hey, here's what's going on. Welcome new employees. Here's who won this contest. We had a grand opening keeping people in the loop and they were actually talking about having an internal social sharing site, right? Where people could post questions to be answered in the video comments. Having guests come in, things like that. They do regular surveys, right? Yeah. I mean I love video because it's very personal. It's very engaging. The only problem is too often people are just sending out the video and leaving it at that. Right. If you have some kind of interactive quality built into it like you just described, that's very, very effective. Find out what people want to know and need to know and and how they can get more involved in it.
Speaker 1:
3:41
Sure. What was the second element? So the second element is speed. Too many times what corporations are sending out as current information is probably something that's been talked about at the water cooler for a long time and people are just finally, they're going to tell us something about this. When everybody's been hearing about it for two or three months, I'm actually involved in that with a client right now. They weren't even going to tell the employees about this change that's taking in the organization that they're going to be forming a partnership. And so now all of a sudden they're realizing, Oh guys, I guess we better tell people about this. The problem with that is by the time people get the official word, they've, there's so much speculation and rumors going around, so be real damaging. Yep. Absolutely. Alrighty. And so the third one is availability of information.
Speaker 1:
4:30
Now that's a policy question. What kind of information are we going to share with employees? And I like to say we've got to shift from need to know, to need to learn. We've got to make sure that we're providing an opportunity for people to learn whatever they can about the organization, particularly stuff that's relevant to their jobs, but helping them understand what's going on in the company. And I'm talking about down to the basic numbers of profits and leading and lagging indicators and all the kinds of things that people need to know. And then have a conversation about so they know how they can improve those things. So too often organizations are very constrained and constricted about the kinds of information they share with people. In my policy is to the extent that you can share any kind of information that is relevant to somebody understanding how the business runs and how it can affect the way they do their work.
Speaker 1:
5:16
Let them know but do it in a systematic organized way. Don't just doing information dumb cause that's worthless to people. I've always disliked that term. Need to know who is to decide, need to know. And I think a lot of companies are going with more of an open information policy. If you want to get your employees loyalty and buy in and you want them to feel like they're a part of the organization, then they need to know what's what's going on with the organization. And the organizations understand that in general. But then they come up with policies that are very constrictive. And so I'm saying, you know you got to get away from that. Yeah. We're treating people in organizations like their kids cause they can handle important information. Well that's freaking ridiculous. I mean people really understand what they need to know in order to do their jobs well.
Speaker 1:
6:03
If you let them know and they'll be able to perform better. And, and then the one that goes along with that is, is access. So it's one thing to have a policy that says, okay, we're going to make a lot of information available, but I dare you to find it because nobody has really provided an effective mechanism for access. And I'll give you an example. One of the most core pieces, one of the core pieces of all the stuff that I do with organizations is weekly huddles. So every week teams get together and they discuss three things. What are the numbers, the key performance indicators that are relevant to us. Second one is what ideas do we have for making improvements in the way that we're doing things? And the third one is acknowledgement gratitude, expressions of appreciation for one another. Every single week it's gotta be built into the fabric of the way you do your work.
Speaker 1:
6:55
All the time. Otherwise it's just a one off program. I liked it. I was waiting for option number three for you to talk about that. One of the things I've talked about in previous podcasts is my kind of idea of how are you that at least once a week you should get together as a team and one of the things you should talk about is just simply how are you with each person? How are you doing so that we have the opportunity to get to know each other, to understand each other a little bit better, and I think that's probably similar to your gratitude and appreciation [inaudible] personally, actually it's a, it's a little different. I like that idea a lot, but the huddles really have to be a combination of [inaudible] business and expressions of gratitude. If you get into how you're doing, you start to go off track and all of a sudden your 30 minutes turns into an hour and a half.
Speaker 1:
7:39
I believe that's very important. That needs to be a separate meeting or it needs to happen at the end of the huddle. Right? Right. You don't want to turn into a lengthy conversation, but just a simple, what's going on with you? How are you doing? Go around the room sort of thing. Yeah. Okay. And then what or which element are we on now that lost track? So the next one is relevance. Okay. You and I were talking earlier about how we're getting a whole lot more open with information we're sharing, well now we've turned into many, many cases into an information don't. And when people get too much information that's not connected, that's not relevant, then all of a sudden they don't even know what the heck to focus on. So the key is really understanding what the stuff is that employees want and need to know in order to be able to understand how the company is doing and how they can contribute to the success of that.
Speaker 1:
8:28
It's gotta be relevant. You know what's funny is sometimes I'll be talking with someone about what you know when we're producing a video and we'll say, well, what is the message that you want to send? What do you want to say? We're kind of working on what's going to be said in the video and they throw so much information and it gets longer and longer and longer. And I'll say, no, wait a minute. You've said this twice though. You already said this earlier is saying it again. And they say, well, it's important. So I feel the need to say it twice. And I say no. If it's important you say at once, if it isn't, you leave it out. Well, I'm a big fan of emphasizing things that are particularly important, but sometimes we emphasize things that aren't that important. Right? Not that relevant to people.
Speaker 1:
9:04
So the next one is inclusion. Okay. And that's just making sure we don't leave people out of the loop. It's so easy to say, well, you know, Sam doesn't need to know that, or Joe doesn't need to know that. Or Mary doesn't need to know. Let's just leave me out. And the analogy that I use is like the human body. If you think of the human body as an organization, if you leave information out, it's like cutting off the blood flow to part of the body. And you know what happens when you cut off the blood flow to the little finger, gets gangrene and it dies. Then the other fingers get sick. Then the hand gets sick, then the arm gets sick and the whole organization gets sick. We've got to make sure that we're including people and not leaving people at it. Okay. Now let's, one issue that arises with that though is finding enough time.
Speaker 1:
9:48
If you invited every person that wanted to come to every meeting in order to include them, they'd hardly have enough time to get their job done. So how can you have a good balance between inclusion and time management? Yeah, so it goes back to what I was saying before, those weekly huddles conducted at the team level, done right, done effectively done efficiently is a great way to make sure that everybody's involved because those huddles include everybody from the janitor to the CEO, get everybody. Then on a monthly basis you have what I will call sort of an enterprise huddle. Now this changes depending on the size of the organization. Enterprise in this case might be a division or department as opposed to a single team, but that's not that much of an investment. If you think about it, 30 minutes a week and then another hour, hour and a half a month.
Speaker 1:
10:38
Obviously you also need to give people time to work on these improvement ideas that they're coming up with, but the return on investment for doing that is extraordinarily high. All right, and then which element are we on? So that was inclusion. The very last one is authenticity. And I actually have a little story about that. Okay. When I first started working in a major corporation that I was involved with as the head of corporate communications, one of the things that I was told sort of indirectly is less if you really want to be successful here as a public relations director, makes sure that you sanitize the bad news and glamorize the good news. Obviously over time you begin to lose your credibility by being inauthentic. Right? Right. And so everything that I'm doing with organizations and helping them think about this kind of work is let's make sure that we're really being authentic in a way that employees aren't looking at that and saying, Oh yeah, I know what's really going on here.
Speaker 1:
11:29
Between all of that Corp speak that people are throwing at us. I feel like organizational communication is going in that direction. I am seeing with the clients that we work with, I am seeing more of a willingness to communicate better, to communicate more authentically, more openly. It just, it seems to be a trend. Yeah, I think that's true. The thing that a lot of organizations are still missing is that systematic component that is built into the fiber and fabric of organizations so the people can really be part of a conversation instead of just the recipient of information. Lots of information is being sent out, but they're still not getting great at truly interactive, dynamic communication where there is equal listening to go along with the talking that we're sending out to people. All right. Well this has been a great conversation and I think we've hit that time in the podcast for our office horror story.
Speaker 1:
12:23
Do you have a story to share? Well, yeah, it's kind of a funny one actually. Years ago. Yeah. One of the things I tell folks is that when we don't follow these criteria, these elements for effective communication, we get caught in the program trap. And we all do all kinds of silly things that employees really laugh at, either out loud or underneath their, their voice. And one of them was great two years ago now, one of our clients, we keep warning people, stay away from these big themes and slogans, which is part of the program trap. And just really understand how we need to change the way that we're interacting and communicating with one another. And so my buddy Roger, who was working on this client walked up one day in a 40 foot manner across the front of the building says commitment to excellence. And he's saying, Oh my gosh, they've gotten caught in this stupid program trap.
Speaker 1:
13:15
I dunno what employees are gonna think about it, but I'm going to go in and I'm going to ask them. And so he walks in and he sits with all of these employees that he was going to work with. He said, so I see this banner at their commitment to excellence. So what do you think of that? And it was dead silence. Nobody said anything for probably about a minute. And finally this one old curmudgeon who had been around for probably 30 years, the kind of people who have no authority whatsoever, but lots of influence on the way people think about things. Sure. And he stands up and he says, Roger, let me tell you, he says, there's only two signs around here that really mean anything. One is exit and the other is wet paint. And everything else is a bunch of bullshit. Everybody laughed, of course. [inaudible] but beneath that laughter was the truth that all we're doing is throwing silly messages at people and thinking that's what's gonna get them engaged and line and performing at their best. There's a real disconnect. Somebody thought that this banner was really gonna make change and get people on board, and it was kind of a joke to the employee. Exactly. Yeah. All right. Well, thank you so much for being here and for participating. I know you have to hit on my pleasure. Thank you.
Speaker 2:
14:23
Thanks for listening to super manager by CN video production. Visit our website@cnn-video.com for additional episodes and lots of super manager resources, or give us a call at three one four video meet.
Real Life, Real Time Communication Model
Interaction
Speed of Dissemenating Information
Availability of Information and Access
Relevance of Information
Inclusion and Authenticity
Horror Stories
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