The decision to reduce staff is the most commonly invoked change strategy as businesses respond to the challenges of the current climate. Yet a University of Arizona study cited in TJ and S Larkin book Communicating Big Change (2006) showed that 80% of 43 companies involved in downsizing or relocating described their communication with their staff as a major failure.
When organisations are under pressure, it’s the messages sent by those with authority and influence about what’s expected that are even more critical. It’s not just what is said by leaders, but also how it is said. Their body language and the leader’s visibility all send a message about how people are expected to behave. Across all organisations, leaders’ actions are watched closely; ‘everything is examined, becomes water cooler stories, and ultimately folklore’ says Sara Mathew, CEO of Dun and Bradstreet (www.blog.davidrock.net).
Which means right now, leaders need to place particular emphasis on their communication – language, message content, positioning of the message, channels to reach people, timing and who delivers the message.
What’s the key to setting the right context and expectations across the whole organisation?
How aware are you of how you deliver your key messages? How do you know how they have been heard? Mathew suggests that ongoing learning, being open to feedback, being self-aware and then modifying behaviour is the ticket. And this is where Vivente can help. –Call us.