Communication that builds & sustains trust, alignment and productivity
Our research revealed communication practices that are producing crucial, immediate benefits. Leaders trusting people with the truth are getting the best results.
What's working well?
Frequent, open communication
- Transparency: sharing what we know as soon as we know it, featuring fact-based information from trustworthy sources.
- Empathy: clearly caring for what others are experiencing and doing our best to help. Understanding different populations with different needs - no “one size fits all” communication.
- Visual contact: regular videos from influential, trusted leaders; routine, interactive video calls to help people stay connected & productive.
- Humanity: sharing our whole, real lives (family, homes, pets, casual clothes).
- Being bold & clear about the purposes and principles that we will stay true to throughout the crisis.
- Straight talk: clarifying facts, what we know and don’t, what we can promise, and what we cannot.
- Being prepared (not scripted) for honest conversation
- Real dialogue: accepting the risk of real-time Q&A
"Do not underestimate people's ability to absorb the truth."
Take advantage of audience response systems like Glisser, PigeonholeLive, Crowdpurr, etc
Use multiple communication platforms (Teams, Zoom, Blue Jeans, email, phone calls) so that all have convenient ways to connect
Spontaneous check-ins: checking in with customers, peers, individuals & teams throughout the organization to listen & learn.
Highlighting priorities, admitting problems & asking for help from colleagues at all levels.
Manage outcomes, not schedule or activity
Helping people work when and how they need to in order to keep the promises they make.
"This environment is allowing all of us to be a little more vulnerable, let down our guard, and allow associates to better understand us as more than work leaders, but as real people."
Acknowledging the extraordinary behavior of specific people that strengthens our culture & keeps us safe and viable.
- Revisiting and updating roles and responsibilities
- Reinforcing enduring commitments
- Revoking out-of-date promises, making new, relevant promises and updating measures of success.
A practical example:
"We have an email address and we encourage questions, comments, concerns, etc... Using the feedback, we have created Team & Family Town Hall meetings. We give updates by region and by function across the state, answer questions sent in to the email address and take questions by chat. We have about 3,500 staff and our first chat had more than 2,200 participants."
Responding leaders would welcome ideas on the following:
What are creative ways to keep people interested and engaged, whether on the front lines of the crisis or doing business as usual?
How do we manage performance in this new environment?
How do we manage communication to many different audiences with different needs?
If you have insights, challenges or ideas you would like to bring to this community, we would love to hear from you.