Words and actions. Policies, programs, and processes. Values and behaviours. Reward systems. They all say something about who you are and how you view success. And if they’re not all pointing in the same direction, you're an orchestra out of tune.
Connecting your employees and other stakeholders with your organization’s goals and strategies requires seeing communication as a system, with each part pulling in the same direction. The actions of your leaders, the decisions that they make, the policies and programs you offer, even the processes you have in place are as much a part of your story as the words you write and speak.
That’s why communications must be approached holistically.
Everything your organization says and does says something about what it’s about. From the documents and speeches you give out to the ways you get things done, from your values and policies to your business strategies and the behaviours of your leaders and managers, your organization constantly says: This is who we are. This is what we need from you.
Your organization is a giant message system, churning out meaning, “writing” its story at every turn.
It’s a complex system of parts that tells people what they should and shouldn’t do. That means that effective communications solves business problems.
I believe strongly in communication’s capacity to be a key business partner. I believe it can help organizations make more money by ensuring that the right people have the right information at the right time. And it can add measurable value and improve overall performance by ensuring that employees have the tools, the knowledge, and the motive to engage in and act on the goals of the business.
But it can only be effective if communications professionals act as conductors of an organizational orchestra of meaning - ensuring that all of the organization's instruments are playing in rhythm and harmony. From the occasional but loud voice of the tympany to the ever-present rustle of the strings to the dominant screams of the lead violin, the sound the organization makes to its stakeholders depends on each instrument playing in tune, being silent when needed, melding seamlessly to create a single sound.
So, whether it's the performances you reward and recognize or the way you conduct meetings or the way you react to mistakes, the piccolo is as important as the trumpet. If one is off-key, the entire orchestra sounds dissonant.