AJC Playbook:  How do we Communicate about what is important to the organization?

Spoiler: Go to Reviews and Create and Execute a Strategic Communications Plan

It is challenging to keep everyone in an organization, especially as it grows, informed and aligned to goals, plans, and progress. Within the context of executing the most important strategic work to the company, however, clear and timely communications are critical.

The easiest way for the Agile Operating Model to ensure clear communication around the work that team is handling is for managers and leaders to attend the 30-minute Sprint Review sessions whenever possible. Secondly, the Agile Project Manager or “Scrum Master” can send out a 1-page update after each Sprint via email, post on an internal website or portal, insert in a company Newsletter, and/or print and post updates or put on a rotating electronic board.

Companies often do not have a formal Communications Strategy or Plan. They message when they think of it, or when things come up urgently or ad-hoc. Or they have an external “Public Relations” (PR) strategic plan, but not an internal one.

While it is easy to get by this way in small companies where people talk often, or managers can meet regularly with their teams in real time, as organizations grow, without a true Communications Strategic Plan, employees can become disenfranchised and confused. It makes sense that there is a strong correlation between Retention and strong Communications. If for no other reason, when managers communicate well and consistently with their direct reports, they are more likely to know whether that person is considering leaving, and hopefully have enough time and wherewithal to influence that decision. The cost of turnover is high and retaining good team members is especially critical. Communications plays a key role in retention, and every company will do it a bit differently based on their culture and situation.

Here is an article to get started on thinking about a Strategic Communications Plan. It asks questions to help you consider your Audience, your Intention, and the Channels available to you for communication. Time to pull the Leadership team together and get moving!

Working Genius Note – How to Communicate about what is Important

Galvanizers will naturally enjoy delivering communications in a verbal setting. For example, in the Review meetings, if there is an “MC” or spokesperson for the team, a Galvanizer will likely step up and be the most energized person to do this. However, consistent communications actually involves a lot of Enablement and Tenacity. After all, the “Rule of 7” states that people need to hear a message 7 times before they take action. This is more than many Galvanizers wish to do – but team members who enjoy Enabling others while helping lift the load, as well as taking things over the finish line with Tenacity, will not mind the repetition of the Rule of 7 for strong Communications.

Read the previous article in the AJC Playbook Series: How to Implement Strategic Projects?

Link back to AJC Playbook: Sharing our Methodology (and Running Table of Contents)