Picking up where we left off last Monday, let’s continue exploring the subject of over-communicating key messages and the the cascading of information.
Most of the time, this subject is defined by the person in a leadership position. They are the sender of the information while the employee is the receiver. When we shift our focus from sending to receiving, we realize something important. We, as leaders, assume that the receiver can understand the message, internalize the message, and finally embrace the message. This is a huge cognitive leap. If they only hear the message once, it is a miracle that this will happen at all.
However, the receiver will not do any of this if they believe the leader is not “serious, authentic, and committed to what they are saying” according to Patrick Lencioni in his book, The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business (Jossey-Bass, 2012). Furthermore, communication of this type needs to be a “structured but interpersonal process.” As he points out, there are three keys to cascading communication, namely message consistency from one leader to another, timeliness of delivery, and live, real-time communication.
So where does this message and communication process start?
The simple and yet power answer is at the end of every meeting. When we pause at the end of of every meeting and define what we have committed to, we build a foundation for clarity. Then, we as leaders have to skip e-mail, voice mail, and random chance meetings to ask questions, and instead focus on face to face and live interactions.
Nevertheless, let us not forget that everything depends on “cohesiveness and clarity at the top.” Without this, communication issues will always be a problem.