The Role of Communication and Culture

In my corporate career I was with a firm that acquired 22 brands and tried to consolidate them into one. Think about that 22 distinct companies, leaders and cultures, consolidated into one. What followed was Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, a fire sale acquisition and now the entity no longer exists. It only took a decade to kill a series of brands some of which had been around for 50 or 60 years. Their idea of cultural fit was to hire a “communication expert.” – Think marketing. They created a new logo and had a big roll out at a resort with lots of swag and a few PR announcements. That was the new culture kick off and messaging.

No one was defining, communicating and reinforcing a consistent set of cultural values. As a result no one was listening.

Contrast that with a firm in the same industry that is now coming up on its 90th year. There is a clear culture and it is aligned throughout the organization. They do a few things really well.
They are clear on who they are and what they do. There is not a lot of distraction with the latest new trend in the business. Instead they focus on their employees. They understand if their employees are cared for they will in turn take care of their customers.

Business Communication

They do this through a regular cadence of training and communication. Monthly they have staff training on the basics of the business. How to manage a call, how to gain a commitment, how to ensure caller satisfaction.
They are accountable to the values of the company. This is reinforced through file audits and daily accountability meetings, where the team members are ranked by performance. It is clearly visible and everyone knows. There is nowhere to hide. AND here is the benefit. Those at the bottom of the performance scale start looking for ways to climb the performance scale. They seek advice, coaching or training. Or they look for a better fit.

In addition to the detailed accountability on a regular cadence this firm reinforces the company values with a monthly All Hands meeting to reinforce how the teams are delivering value to the organization, its clients and the community. People feel a sense of belonging to the organization. It’s not just a paycheck.

When there is a violation of the corporate values there is an opportunity for coaching and in many cases a departure from the firm. The flip side is that when someone exemplifies a value there is an organizational wide broadcast. There is no doubt what the values are or what this organization is about.

Here’s the kicker. It doesn’t require a high paid “communication and marketing expert.” It requires an understanding of the psychology of communication, the structure of good communication and a regular schedule or cadence.

If you would like to have a conversation about the role your communication plays in the performance of your organization, let’s schedule a conversation. john@johngies.com

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