The importance of ‘inside out’ communication.

images-1What’s communicated within impacts what’s communicated out.

It’s rare that a company with a great external reputation is dysfunctional when it comes to communicating internally. In this social-digital age, leadership messages communicated internally eventually resonate out into the world.

Just as the stories we tell ourselves influence our own behavior (and ultimately the opinions of others), the stories leaders share internally impact the behavior of employees, and eventually customers.

The bottom line is that the internal influences the external. If all you feed your children is sugar, expect a certain behavior. If they’re getting plenty of fruits and vegetables, expect another. All other things being equal, the outcomes are fairly predictable.

The internal communications function is critical to driving all communications. Why have a handful of brand ambassadors at the senior leadership level when you can have a company full of them? Effective strategic communications are built on a foundation of clear, consistent messages internally. Messages tied to the organization’s values, and that clearly align with its mission.

In order to achieve breakthrough performance, leaders must engage employees by communicating clearly, frequently and intentionally.

According to Jeff Grimshaw, Principle of MG Strategy, leaders intentionally or unintentionally broadcast messages over five frequencies through: 1) their words and actions, 2) what they tolerate and don’t tolerate, 3) what they reward and recognize, 4) informal communications, and 5) formal communications.

Jeff and his team have been transforming communications in large complex organization for over 20 years. They’ve developed a comprehensive methodology designed to “directly, explicitly, and measurably support the leadership agenda.”

The work done by IC professionals is nothing less than a risk management proposition, especially in large organizations. Because in the absence of an effective IC strategy, projects stall, valuable resources are squandered, team members become disengaged, and confusion reigns. Left unchecked, other stakeholders including customers begin to experience the same confusion and disengagement. And the death spiral begins.