Many factors contribute to being successful in business. Having a sound strategy, having a marketable product or service, and having efficient processes are all important. And in our first part in this series on the 5 Pillars to Business Success, we demonstrated how Its People Who Drive Business Success, because it falls to the people within the organization to actually execute on the strategies, plans, and processes to make a business successful. Our discussion today centers on communications. When used effectively within an organization, what is communicated and the manner in which information is communicated can have a profound impact – positive or negative – on the short-term and long-term performance of the business.
We live in a world today in which people are increasingly disconnected. The 2017 State of the American Workplace survey conducted by Gallup indicate that more than 70% of employees are not engaged in the workplace. Feeling disengaged usually stems from poor communications within the organization, often from employees feeling like they don’t have a voice in how to solve problems or improve performance, but also from a lack shared goals and a poor understanding of how the work they do is valuable to achieving those goals.
However, when employees are a key part of the communication loop in a business, they feel connected. This sense of belonging and inclusion can have some great benefits. Engaged employees are 24% more likely to increase sales and, according to a McKinsey study, are up to 25% more productive.
Strong two-way communications should be viewed as an umbrella covering everything we do. To be unified in your communications, clear and concise information needs to be shared regarding vision and strategy, impact to the customer, and financial performance. Employees should understand their weekly, monthly, and annual performance targets and how them meeting these targets touches on the business strategy, the customer, and financial performance.
We can joke about poor communications and the many foolish things that really intelligent leaders can say that negatively impact their business without them realizing it. Plato has an interesting quote that’s 100% on point here: “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.”
But poor communications is no joking matter. It takes excellence and persistence in communicating effectively to make a winning strategy meaningful and operational. In fact, great communications can overcome mediocre strategies. But that’s what I’m here for, to help your business get them both on the right track.