Communication – What To Share

Yesterday, I talked about how to streamline communication using email so it would be quick to read and understand.  Today I am going to write about what to communicate.  I can’t know what business you are in or service you provide, but I think there are some good general standards that can be followed.

I am going to reference Work Rules! by Laszlo Bock again.  Google has weekly all hands meetings with the president of the company that people can attend in person or virtually and where anyone can ask any question.  And even better, they can expect an answer.  This is a great way too have accountability on both the executive and staff side.  If staff are going to be encouraged to ask hard questions, they’re going to expect honest answers.  If the executives are hearing good, thoughtful questions, they know what that the staff is engaged, taking the forum seriously, and feeling that they are getting honest answers.

Communication goes beyond that though.  At any company the owner or the upper management decide what type of information to pass along to the staff.  In the past, this was easier because companies had a more hierarchical approach to their organization.  But in the present day, while the reporting hierarchy is still there, people are being hired for their ideas and ability to innovate as much as they being hired to do a specific job.  In order to do that, they need as much information as possible about the company’s long-term and short-term goals.  The need to know about the company’s major initiatives, whether they be new products, quality initiatives, sales efforts, and how the company is performing.  Not only does that help employees make better decisions, it allows them to contribute their insights into helping the company thrive.  It also keeps them focused on work that is in keeping with company goals.

So when considering all of this in considering what information to disseminate, keep in mind another idea from Google that I touched on in a previous post.  Managers there are encouraged to give more freedom to the staff than they generally feel comfortable with.  Getting more information to your staff then you would traditionally feel comfortable with is going to

  • serve the purpose of enabling them and make it possible for them to do things that match the company’s direction in a more focused and efficient way.
  • establish trust.  If they know you are sharing good and bad information, that will help them share as well.
  • create a very team-like environment where people are willing to go beyond their roles and do what is important for the company.

Obviously, with all of this said, you cannot share everything.  But you can probably share more than you do.  When you do that, look for great things to happen!

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