Recommit to Communicate Truth

As we pass Groundhog Day, we still don’t know what kind of a year this will be for business.

Perhaps the stock market will continue to rise and unemployment will continue to decrease. But we don’t really know. And such general observations may not mean much to an organization that faces real challenge.

So, as you talk with your employees about the year, here are a few things to help you stay on the track of truth.

Define success. Too many times organizations are less than clear about what they need and more than clear about what they don’t accomplish. The more explicit you are about what success must be the stronger foundation you establish for what you may have to communicate later in the year.

Set (and maintain) a tone. Too many times organizations start a year in a clear, personal tone, only to let the words become more corporate in tone as the year progresses, as the information conveyed becomes more financial in focus. People can react to changes in tone as if they are changes in intent.

Explain the basics. Too many times organizations toss out facts without giving people the context to understand. That may get the facts out in the open but prevents people from following the narrative. And that will dilute the impact of what you are trying to stay.

Listen to people. Too many times organizations say the words without listening for the reaction. Build feedback opportunities into every communications you distribute. Only when you listen can you reasonably expect people to absorb.

Never consider yourself done. Too many times organizations communicate with a flurry as the year begins, only to let the momentum slow as the spring approaches. But employees will come up with their own facts if you don’t satisfy their hunger for facts.

None of us know how accurate a groundhog’s predictions may be. But unless we focus our organizations on truth, we are sure to experience stormy weather in the weeks ahead.

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