Back in December, I wrote about The Illusion of Leadership Communications and how to avoid it. There were three requirements for every leader I outlined, and I’ll add a fourth:
- Articulate a clear and compelling purpose so that all in your organization can align themselves and their work with it.
- Remember that leadership communication is not an event, but an ongoing process. Communicate your message platform regularly and consistently.
- Invest time in creating leader communication tools, using them to share your story and – perhaps most importantly – empower other people to help you and reinforce the messages you deliver.
- Measure your success (or lack thereof) to adjust, improve and succeed.
So how do you measure success? Start with the goals of all leadership communications (read them here) and measure the results of your work against each: Have your employees heard your message? Are they acting in alignment with it? Are they telling your story in their own words?
Do these three things:
- Observe – To see if your employees have heard your message, first observe … Are they making decisions that are aligned with the message you have delivered? Do you observe dissonance? Are behaviors and actions consistent with your direction? If you’ve given direction to save money and be frugal but spending goes up, that’s a clear sign your communication has broken down.
- Ask – If you don’t like what you observe, use that most magical of assessment tools: ASK. And do it in a way that gives employees permission to be honest (see this article for tips on how). Ask your employees to tell you – in their own words – what they heard you say. When they can, and they actually do, then you’ve succeeded. But you may be surprised by what you hear. Giving your employees the opportunity to ask questions, interact with you, and provide input will not only benefit their understanding but will also give you insights to help you refine your message and delivery.
- Confirm – You will find that confirming your observations through a more formal process will provide unfiltered feedback at scale. Did you communicate a new strategic direction? Send a brief survey and ask questions directly related to the goals of your communication.
Follow these steps regularly and you will gain the insights you’ll need to adjust, improve and succeed in your leadership communications.
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Haley Boehning is the co-founder of Storyforge, a brand strategy company helping ambitious companies change the world by discovering their singular purpose, forging their story, and aligning their positioning, people, products and profits with it. Haley leverages 20+ years of brand and strategic communications experience, including 16 years as L Brands Vice President of Internal Communications, to create relevant, consistent and emotionally compelling messages that help brand and culture triumph in times of great change.