I had a call with a business leader last week to talk about the business horizon for 2012.
It was the first time I had spoken with this leader, who heads manufacturing operations at a major global company. One of the things I wanted to know about was his business plan for the new year. He immediately started talking about safety, quality and some other operational goals, which was expected. After a few minutes, I asked him where communications fit into the business plan and he responded that it didn’t.
It was just assumed.
The truth is, it was absent. And, the leader’s company is headed for a 2012 of dramatic upheavals in workflow and workforce reductions. Visible, painful changes will hit just about every department and level. And yet, missing in action is a game plan for openly, regularly and consistently talking about what’s happening, why it’s happening and what people need to do to stay focused and work together.
Remember, even as the status quo collapses and uncertainty escalates inside the walls of your company, customers and other external stakeholders are expecting success.
That’s really the driver for putting communications as a prominent, measurable, business imperative. Effective, two-way communications are the glue of an organization, helping to unite people through words and actions to support quality goals, safety goals and the overall company mission. Effective communication moves people from being spectators on the sidelines to actively participating in practices that yield great products, services and customer experiences – especially during times of significant uncertainty and change.