Are your internal communications helping or hurting your business?

images-1In most large organizations, it’s nearly impossible to determine the effectiveness of the internal communications function. Apart from anecdotes and complaints, very little is done to assess and remedy specific gaps in communication. And these gaps are costing U.S. companies billions of dollars every year.

The problem in most cases is that leaders simply don’t know where to start. How do you wrap your arms around a subject like internal communications when everyone is uber busy with their daily workload?

Our process is designed to meet this problem head-on. Our Strategic Communications Maturity Model (SCMM) elevates internal communication as a strategic function. Specifically, the tool will help us identify: (1) the current maturity of the internal communication function (where you are now), (2) where you need to be (to deliver you results you’ve committed to), and (3) what you’ll need to do to get to the desired state.

A large utility company, in a post-merger environment, asked us to help them blend the two companies using this model. The leadership chose to take the company from level #1 (they’re existing state) to level #5 (their desired stated). We began by pulling together a cross-functional team to engage in a survey to determine the specific gaps, using the SCMM tool. The tool revealed in what specific areas we are achieving success, where we are close, and where we are far off?

Once we knew the specific gaps (there were 24 in all), we were able to address each one systematically over an eight-month period.  During bi-weekly meetings with a cross-functional team of six people, facilitated discussions led to broad solutions involving some 60 people, all of who had input and took ownership of the change.

In the process, we elevated the level of trust among members of the new and old companies, and eventually rewrote a narrative to define the new culture, borrowing attributes from each company.

Internal communication is not transactional, but rather a commitment to an intentional series of habits that transform the way we engage with one another.

Focusing on internal communications is nothing short of a risk-management proposition. There’s simply too much at stake to ignore this aspect of your business. And, it’s virtually impossible to be successful without devoting resources to this critical strategic function.