When we talk about good communications, we often think of it in terms of unambiguous language, the right channels and good timing. However, within an organisation, good communication becomes a reflection – and consequence – of the organisation’s culture and structure.
Open and transparent communication is a concept that almost all companies and organisations claim to value, but very few actually achieve. For me, the importance of an open business environment cannot be overstated. An organisation with silos and hierarchical structure can survive, but is unlikely to thrive.
Transparency needs to be the cornerstone of every modern organisation, including our own. Since taking up the position of Chief Executive at State Trustees I have made it my mission to be as open and transparent as possible. This begins with making myself available to staff and clients – which is why I welcome the advent of social media and the level of connectivity and accountability it drives.
Modern technology allows us to connect with people instantly wherever and whenever through myriad different platforms. Organisations should be no different. In this age of instant gratification, we need to adapt our work practices to reflect the changes happening across our society. People want answers to their questions and they want them quickly.
In order to facilitate this we must all become good communicators whether we like it or not. But I believe this mostly means creating an environment in which good communications can flow, rather than re-training ourselves to become brilliant writers or eloquent orators.
Whether its simplifying our marketing materials, improving the efficiently of our systems or feeling comfortable in fronting up when we make a mistake, clear communication is everyone’s responsibility no matter what your role in the organisation is.
Having access to effective communications skills is absolutely fundamental. Failure to express your vision or thoughts in a clear and succinct manner will lead to misunderstandings, mismanagement and an erosion of confidence. In an environment where not everyone is a great communicator, we must provide access to skilled people or tools to assist everyone in getting a clear message across.
No matter what its size, a company can only continue to evolve and grow through real and tangible engagement with its staff and clients – that means canvassing opinions, listening to viewpoints and taking action.
I continue to try to champion a culture of open communication where staff and clients alike are encouraged to share their ideas and concerns, both positive and negative. Allowing this freedom of expression is crucial to instilling a sense of value among key stakeholders and fostering a sense of ownership in the company’s successes and failures.
Becoming a good communicator takes practice, effort and consistent attention. We don`t communicate to be understood, rather we communicate so as not to be misunderstood.