Accountability: The Key to Great Communication
Effective communication is vital to the success of your organization. Whether it’s got to do with how your employees talk to one another or to your company’s clients or customers, communication is king. Get this aspect of your business wrong, and your leadership, your people, and your organization will struggle with a whole host of problems. Get it right, and you’ll benefit from countless rewards—everything from a transparent workplace culture to positive employee morale, strong problem-solving and productivity levels, an impressive public image, and greater goal achievement. That said, great communication doesn’t just “happen.” It’s something that begins and gets better with a process discipline, specifically, one that’s rooted in a proven approach to accountability.
Want to bring greater accountability to your organization’s internal and external communications? Here are a few tips to do so:
1. Identify communication pitfalls.
Do your homework (perhaps calling upon the help of your teams or a communications consultant) to determine areas in which communications could be improved both internally and externally. For example, in terms of internal communications, your team members may be feeling like they’re operating in silos in which it’s hard to regularly connect and share information. And in terms of external communications? Perhaps your customers may be struggling to provide valuable feedback because there are no tools or resources in place to help them do it. Think about these examples as well as all the other things that support both internal and external communications, or that critical ability to share and receive information. In what ways is your organization excelling? In what ways is it falling short or missing the mark altogether? Do a full, formal assessment to get the information you need.
2. Establish new guidelines.
Once you’ve identified your communication strengths and weaknesses, you’ll want to create new guidelines for the change you want to see and be ready for the fact that others may push back against or fear what you’re proposing. This is normal because change is tough for most people. So for greater buy-in and ownership of the change, call together your teams and involve them in the process of creating these new rules. Get them on board with the fresh approach, be they rules, tactics, resources, bigger strategies, etc., then boost your odds of success by taking the lead in implementing and executing what’s been decided. Demonstrate to others that it can be done and how to do it. The onus is really on the leader to sponsor any change by driving it forward once it’s been adopted and/or approved.
3. Develop measures to monitor progress.
Just as you would with other key areas of your leadership responsibilities and your organization’s success, it’s important to track and measure communication, relative to the goals that have been set. For example, perhaps in an attempt to eliminate a culture of silos, you’ve decided to hold “morning huddles,” which are essentially mini-accountability meetings for sharing information, checking in on progress, identifying opportunities for corrective action, and get feedback overall. Rate the success of these meetings, including how often they’re happening, the attendance rates, and how effective they are. In terms of the earlier example for external communications, track use and other types of data relative to any new tools you’ve put in place to get customer feedback. As the saying goes, what gets measured gets done, so measure your communication strategies, including those new game rules. Then take corrective action when necessary and reinforce positive results, noting any progress and celebrating wins.
When it comes to internal and external communications, where can you create better accountability?