I talked to a CEO recently who was working on changing his company’s culture to make it more open to new ideas. I asked him how his communication campaign was going. He said, “Well, I met with all our managers last week and told them how important this is.” I congratulated him and asked what the next steps would be. He said he wasn’t sure but he assumed that the managers would deliver the message to their employees and then “we can get on with it”. (I’m oversimplifying here — but not by much).
When you fix a broken pipe, you assume that it will stay fixed — at least for a while. We often assume the same is true about delivering a message. “I told them what they need to do so I assume that they’re fixing the problem.” Unfortunately, it’s not so easy. The message could get garbled along the way. It could be misunderstood. It could meet with resistance. “Don’t pay attention to that. They’ll change their mind before long”.
To ensure that your message gets through, you’ll need to repeat it. Keep the message consistent — though you may want to change the words from time to time to keep it fresh. Repetition is important in all situations but it’s critical when your organization is under stress. By repeating your message, you’ll ensure that it gets through and you’ll let employees know that you’re not about to change your mind.
Consider how often you tell your spouse that you love him or her. Consider how many ways you express that love — the message remains the same though the words may differ. You need to do something similar for your colleagues and employees. Now watch the video for a good joke.