Research by Rewards Gateway reveals that almost all of the employers and their employees 98% and 95% respectively, say that personal alignment with the company’s mission vision and values is important to success. Yet less than half of employees know what the corporation’s mission and values are. WHAT?!
My experience with several organizations is that there is a gap between the story that leaders think they are telling and the story the rest of the organization is hearing. I have been to several of those corporate strategic retreats. I remember the Princess Hotel in Scottsdale. There were team building exercises, there were discussions of the vision and then everyone got the swag with the new logos.
Everyone went back to work and fell back into the inertia of driving their business units. There was no initiative to ensure that the message was cascaded down the organization. As part of the sales team, I know the mission, vision and values; they were part of our sales proposition. But, if you asked our colleagues in other parts of the organization… Seven years later the company filed Chapter 11 and was sold at a fire sale price.
I’ll contrast this with another organization. The mission, vision and values, were up on the walls. When someone demonstrated behavior that aligned with the values, they were recognized publicly for that. And, the value was reinforced. In an industry with an average employee turnover of over 200% annually, this organization had an average tenure of 6 years. These people were engaged.
Most of the leaders I work with believe they are articulating their message clearly and transparently. Again, what the organization hears is often muddled and confusing. The result is they don’t trust the leadership.
How you communicate matters it makes a difference and it is NOT just the words. It is all of the soft stuff that is going with the words. There is famous research from Berkley that points out that words only convey 7% of the message. The rest of the message is delivered in the leader’s tone and what people see.
Your ability as a leader to stand in front of the room and articulate with confidence, and transparency, your message, can determine buy in from the organization. You need to place yourself in the audience’s position and answer the questions that are in their mind. And your organization is made up of several audiences. There is the executive team, the directors and middle managers and then the people on the front line. That means you may have to deliver the same message tailored to different audiences.
And you are not done. It is a series of ongoing alignment conversations. It is continually pointing to the mission. It is reinforcing the values. It is calling out the obstacles and helping teams work together to optimize the organization versus just their own business units.
Four things to consider
- Communicate change early and often. If there is a policy change coming let people know and expect it. I remember closing one of our offices and the staff did not know it was closed until they showed up for work. That sucks!
- Make the data available. Let people know how the organization is doing. It helps to be able to show them how their work contributes to the performance of the whole.
- Be Authentic. Your people have a sense of what is going on in the organization. They are looking to you to tell the truth.
- Learn how to speak in public, even if only to your team of four. Your ability to articulate the message with power will in fact help you get promoted.
If you would like to learn how you or your team can benefit from better communication skills for accountability, engagement and performance, schedule a call with John to explore the possibilities. CALENDAR