Rupal is a management consultant with over 18 years of experience in internal/change communications.
Communication is a powerful management tool that will determine your company’s success or failure.
The overall goal of a company is, in simple terms, to have happy customers and employees and to grow the business. However, companies around the world are facing strong financial headwinds and an uncertain economic outlook. In these challenging times, it is easy to worry about external factors that are, quite frankly, beyond your control – including central bank interventions and the knock-on effect on currencies, low consumer data, GDP numbers, economic indicators and tweets from quirky politicians.
During these unsettled times, you can indeed become overly busy organising internal meetings, spend your time laying out potential scenarios and thinking about what challenges you might be facing the next day. BUT – is this cocoon approach going to make your primary stakeholders stick with you and your products despite the difficult outlook? Will this approach bring out the best in your people?
Focus on what YOU CAN CONTROL. As a leader, your main goal should be to know what your primary stakeholders are thinking. Not just shareholders – it’s ALL YOUR PRIMARY STAKEHOLDERS, starting with your people! Ask yourself to what extent your stakeholders are affected by the challenging outlook? How are they doing? What are they thinking? And when was the last time you connected and talked about how you are going to work together to win in the marketplace despite the economic challenges?
Here’s an example: in my work as a communications consultant, I like to start with a simple step. I take a closer look at the daily agenda of the CEO and the leadership team. Together, we go through their agenda and evaluate how they structure their day and how that directly affects the entire company. Frankly, we all know from experience that what is not included in the agenda is not going to happen. Hence, the first question I ask my clients when we design their company communications strategy is: when was the last time you spoke with your people? How much time do you block in your daily agenda for stakeholder engagement? This question is usually met with a puzzled look on the part of my clients and the answer, ‘Well, I talk to people the entire day – that is my job.’
Quick reality check: When we then take a look at the daily agenda in more detail, we often find that there is indeed a lot of time blocked for ‘meetings’. Now, there is no doubt that some of them are important, but is it really necessary for the CEO and his/her leadership team to attend those particular meetings? And can’t decisions be made in those meetings without requiring the presence of the top leaders? In my view, reflecting upon your communication activities and measuring the ROI of your activities is indispensable – that goes for top leaders, people managers and anyone else who wants to be successful and leave the office satisfied and with a sense of fulfilment. Moreover, in the long run and especially during difficult times, it will determine your company’s failure or success.
Method behind finding the right ROI of your communication - CONSULTING MODEL BY RPU (see image below). First of all, let me tell you that it’s not rocket science – but it does take time and dedication, and a structured approach is key! I consult start-ups, small and mid-cap companies as well as global corporations, and we focus on the following four key steps:
What is your company’s purpose, goal and strategy? IMPACT
Who are your primary/secondary stakeholders/partners who will play a crucial role in helping you succeed? SOLUTION
What is the desired outcome of those relationships? OUTPUT
We then develop a strategic communication strategy together with the in-house team that measures the tactics through stakeholder feedback. OUTCOME
CEO of a mid-cap technology company: “I can recommend a communication checklist as a way to develop good leadership habits. When I first sat down with Rupal, I thought that in some ways what she was saying is really obvious: communication is on the list of the things you need to be capable of as a leader. For me personally, I thought I was doing a good job. When we then started working together, I soon realised that I was not making the most out of my interactions with our partners, people, clients and investors. I am now convinced that a strategic communication approach will benefit my business and also be more fulfilling for me at the end of the day! “
An integrated communication approach that tells YOUR story. A leader’s role is to not only to define, but moreover to COMMUNICATE their company’s purpose, strategy and goals in a way that makes their audience feel connected. Effective stakeholder engagement is as important as laying out the strategy because you can’t have one without the other.
You are the master of your time! The good news is that the key to success is pretty simple: focus on what you can control! Above all – and despite the uncertainties – don’t stop bringing your people/partners on board with your company purpose and goals. At the end of the day, they are the ones who will to bring your strategy to life, especially if things are not looking too rosy.
*Miquel Lladó - Being busy is not a value!
More blogs by Rupal
INTERNAL COMMUNICATION CAN BE SCARY - but believe me it is rewarding!
HOW TO CHALLENGE THE “STATUS QUO? A communication “cheat sheet” to practice bravery. Every idea or project requires effective communication and a collaboration strategy – but most of all BRAVE people to take action!
SIT BACK, RELAX AND LET IT HAPPEN – A guide on how to organise successful townhall meetings.
SHARING IS CARING! Enabling real problem solving and first-hand experience sharing - with Employee Communication leading the way.
DO YOU HAVE A MOMENT? My story on human communication