Terry Thompson, Surrey, BC, CYBF Mentor, tesh@shaw.ca

Managing Corporate Culture article series

In my last article, Creating a compelling vision and related values, I described the key aspects of drafting vision and missions statements and corporate values. How you communicate these items effectively to your managers and the rest of your employees becomes as important as the words themselves.

The golden rule of effective communication is:

Not just delivering the message but also ensuring that it the receiver understands it in the way that the sender intended it to be.  Further, with respect to the vision and values, the CEO should be front and centre.

Some universal guidelines regarding corporate communication of any kind are as follows:

  1. Receive input from your key managers regarding the content of the message.
  2. Confirm that their understanding of the intent and content of the message is the same as yours. A common communication mistake is the sender assumes that by merely presenting the message the receiver will understand it in exactly the same way as the sender does. This rarely happens so it is imperative that you have your key managers describe to you their understanding of the message. You can then identify where the differences are, correct them, and minimize these differences when you communicate the message to all of your employees. For critical messages, it is useful to pick some non-management personnel and go through the same exercise with them prior to releasing the communication.
  3. It is imperative that your managers/supervisors are on the same page as you regarding the objectives, content and understanding of any message. As mentioned in an earlier article if your managers do not eat, breathe and believe the company’s key initiatives (and messages) the messages will not be successful.
  4. Determine how best to communicate to all employees – i.e. which people should deliver the message, where and when. This will, to a great extent, be dictated by the geographic and organizational structure of your company. Ensure that anyone delivering key communication is properly coached and prepared and you have confidence that they will do it properly. Proper corporate communication is a priority to building culture – most managers need improvement and help when communicating key corporate information.
  5. After the message is communicated, have managers check with a sample of non-management employees to ensure the message was properly understood.

In my company we used our marketing person to help draft corporate communication. We also prepared PowerPoint slides to facilitate the managers’ presentations and observed their presentations in order to provide feedback on how to improve.

Should have any questions or feedback regarding the content of this article please email me (Terry Thompson) at tesh@shaw.ca

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