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Leadership communications in difficult times
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Leadership communications in difficult times

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Seven tips to leadership communications during difficult times. Whether during downsizing, restructuring or other types of change; connecting and communicating truthfully with staff is paramount.

Seven tips to leadership communications during difficult times. Whether during downsizing, restructuring or other types of change; connecting and communicating truthfully with staff is paramount.

2009 Presentation to CEO Institute, Adelaide, Australia (Susan Stewart)

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  • Leadership Communications | Susan Stewart
  • Leadership Communications | Susan Stewart Susan Stewart m 0448 241 592 e [email_address]
  • Leadership Communications | Susan Stewart Poor workplace communication can : Increase employee turnover and absenteeism Create a lack of focus on business objectives Result in poor client and customer service Reduce the quality of output and performance Stifle innovation and creativity Effective internal communications helps turn business strategy into action by informing, engaging and guiding employees. Internal communications should create platform that enable employees to: Understand and contribute to business priorities Collaborate across operational lines By into organisational values and drive behaviours that will support business outcomes During difficult times, effective communications will ease anxiety, improve retention, increase productivity, manage change, earn employee trust and educate staff on the impact.
  • Leadership Communications | Susan Stewart As a leader, how do you currently engage with your staff?
  • Leadership Communications | Susan Stewart How is your business managing difficult times?
  • Leadership Communications | Susan Stewart What difficult times are you experiencing at your business at present? What are your greatest challenges? What are your opportunities?
  • Leadership Communications | Susan Stewart What are the values of the company? Who will be affected by the change? What is important to my staff? What are my staff thinking? How do they feel? How will they react? What am I asking staff to do in the future? What new behaviour do they need to develop? What is the history of change in the organisation? Who’s on board? Who can help to influence?
  • Leadership Communications | Susan Stewart What do you see? W rite down what you see.
  • Leadership Communications | Susan Stewart Read the comments from the cricket community regarding the recent catastrophe in Pakistan. Comment on their comments.
  • Leadership Communications | Susan Stewart What is your why ? Your vision? Your focus? Your aspirations? Your true north? Tell me … why should I? What’s the urgency? Why now?
  • Leadership Communications | Susan Stewart How do you currently communicate? What are you trying to say? Good internal communications are: Clear, relevant and concise Aligned to key business objectives Tailored to different stakeholders Delivered via a range of channels to maximise reach Developed with consultation Creative and interesting to stakeholders
  • Leadership Communications | Susan Stewart Communicate with your people the aspiration in a way that resonates with people and engenders a positive response. Use different ways to communicate: face-to-face taglines key words presentations images behaviours logos & branding images maps videos podcasts advertising
  • Leadership Communications | Susan Stewart What do you currently do to involve your stakeholders? What else could you do?
  • Leadership Communications | Susan Stewart Who are your allies? Your influencers? How can you maximise their impact?
  • Leadership Communications | Susan Stewart Encouraging people to change when results are immediate can be complex. Instead break change into smaller pieces and acknowledge the achievements.
  • Leadership Communications | Susan Stewart Implement initiatives that reinforce and integrate messages/communications into other parts of the business. Consider how your communications can be integrated into your: behaviours, values performance management systems people policies knowledge management information technology needs practice management processes governance operational practices client development and marketing KPIs
  • Leadership Communications | Susan Stewart change ≠ management Develop a long term multidimensional plan that is a adaptive to the changing environment. And as a leader, be prepared to change.
  • Leadership Communications | Susan Stewart Thank you

Leadership communications in difficult times Leadership communications in difficult times Presentation Transcript

  • Leadership communications in difficult times Susan Stewart
  • Agenda
    • 00 Current state
    • 01 Understand the ‘who’
    • 02 Explain the ‘why’
    • 03 Communicate the ‘what’
    • 04 Involve the ‘who’
    • 05 Maximize the impact of leaders, social networks & peer pressure
    • 06 Celebrate short term wins
    • 07 Sustain the action
    • 08 The best laid plans
    • 09 In closing
  • The facts
    • All nine practices that constitute Watson Wyatt's Hierarchy of Effective Communication continue to have a positive correlation to financial performance.*
    • The percentage of companies that are measuring employee behavioural change has increased almost 25% points since the 2003/2004 study.*
    *2007/2008 Communication ROI Study Secrets of Top Performers: How Companies With Highly Effective Employee Communication Differentiate Themselves. Watson Wyatt Worldwide 00
    • Effective employee communication is a leading indicator of financial performance
    • Companies with the most effective employee communication programs provided a 91% total return to shareholders (TRS) from 2002 to 2006, compared with 62% for firms that communicated least effectively. Moreover, a significant improvement in communication effectiveness is associated with a 15.7% increase in market value.*
    • Firms that communicate effectively are four times as likely to report high levels of employee engagement as firms that communicate less effectively.*
  • Why? “ Increasing employee engagement during an economic downturn is akin to tuning up your car so it runs on eight cylinders instead of six. The car performs much more effectively and efficiently with the additional power. Understood correctly, engagement can improve performance, quality and productivity.” Shaffer J (2009). Playing to win . Communication World. March 2009. IABC publication 00
  • Managing difficult times “ Companies are on the whole sticking to the tactics they identified last fall as helping them manage the global economic turmoil. A higher proportion of companies are now taking longer-term actions such as restructuring, hiring talent, or leaving markets altogether, perhaps indicating that more see the turmoil as creating long-term structural changes.” McKinsey (2009). Economic conditions snapshot. McKinsey Global Survey Results. 20 February 2009. 00
  • The challenge Watkins M (2009). Picking the right transition strategy. Harvard Business Review. January 2009. pp. 47-53 00 Turnaround Realignment Saving a business or initiative widely acknowledged to be in serious trouble Reenergising a previously successful organisation that now faces problems Challenges Reengineering demoralised employees and other stakeholders Making effective decisions under time pressure Going deep enough with painful cuts and difficult personnel choices Convincing employees that change is necessary Carefully restructuring the top team and refocusing the vision Opportunities Everyone recognises that change is necessary Affected constituencies offer significant external support A little success goes a long way The organisation has significant pockets of strength People want to continue to see themselves as successful
  • ACTION 01: Understand the ‘who’ 01
  • 01
  • Eccelston R (2009). Day the gentleman’s game went to hell . The Advertiser. Wednesday 8 March 2009. pp.7 01
  • ACTION 02: Explain the ‘why’ 02 Innately we all want to know why … “Why should I”? Where are you leading me? Why are you leading me there? Why should I follow you? Why now? … and by the way, how do I get there? p.s. who else is coming?
  • ACTION 03: Communicate the ‘what’ 03 communications outcome A B 1-way inform or publicise A B 2-way asymmetrical persuade A B 2-way symmetrical mutual agreement
  • 03 effort to change critical to success Keep informed Woo and win Monitor and respond Maintain confidence 2-way asymmetrical 2-way symmetrical 1-way 1-way & 2-way asymmetrical Stakeholder communications
  • ACTION 04: Involve the ‘who’ 04 The IKEA effect
  • ACTION 05: Maximise the impact of leaders, social groups & peer pressure 05
  • ACTION 06: Celebrate short term wins 06
  • ACTION 07: Sustain the change 07
  • ACTION 08: The best laid plans 08
  • In closing 09
    • Restructuring
    • Communicate what stays the same. People look for stability - don’t forget to communicate what is staying the same to help reduce anxiety.
    • Engage with resistance - don’t seek to overcome. Resistance is normal, highly complex, and only feedback. Understand staff concerns and work with them to find solutions and build trust.
    • Build change capability within. Organisation need to be adaptive. Think about and work towards fostering behaviours that that enable change.
    • Downsizing
    • Dignity is paramount. Your role as leader is to ensure that your people and clients are respected.
    • Ensure a united front . Work with managers to keep them informed and up to date. Be first to communicate and don’t let employees hear messages from elsewhere
    • Engage with the water cooler talk .  Engaging with the rumours allows clarification of incorrect information and guided sense-making. You’ll also get some useful feedback.
    • Support survivors. Those left after downsizing need support otherwise you will be faced with high stressed organisation, increased sick leave, increased intent to leave and reduced performance.