Exploring the impact of transformative communication from leadership.
By: Cynthia Short
An often overlooked component of transformation is communication; specifically, leadership communication. It is important for business leaders to intentionally plan, develop and implement clear, transparent and consistent communication every step of the transformation journey, starting on day one. This communication plan is informed by a deep understanding of the needs, wants and pain points of their employees to address concerns and reinforce transformative behaviors. While it sounds simple, there are many important factors to consider. In this video, Leadership Communication, Jason and I take a closer look at the need for communication along with the key responsibilities of leaders for navigating a successful transformation.
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What is Transformational Leadership?
Transformational leadership is a leadership style characterized by leaders who inspire and motivate their followers to achieve extraordinary outcomes and personal growth. Mindset of leaders is everything. These leaders foster a sense of purpose and vision, encouraging their team members to go beyond their own self-interests for the collective success of the organization. Transformational leaders exhibit charisma, intellectual stimulation, individualized consideration, and inspirational motivation. They inspire innovation, creativity, and change by setting high expectations, empowering their team, providing support and guidance, and challenging their followers to reach their full potential. This leadership approach emphasizes collaboration, trust, and the development of a positive organizational culture.
Why is Communication Important During Transformation?
Communication plays a pivotal role during times of transformation. It serves as a crucial tool for navigating the complexities and challenges that come with change. Effective communication ensures that all stakeholders are on the same page regarding the purpose, vision, and goals of the transformation. Clear and consistent messaging helps align everyone towards a common direction, reducing confusion and resistance. Moreover, communication is essential for managing change.
Transformation often involves significant shifts in processes, roles, and structures, which can create uncertainty and anxiety among employees. Open and transparent communication helps manage expectations, address concerns, and alleviate resistance by providing the necessary information and rationale behind the changes. It helps employees understand the reasons for the transformation and how it will impact them personally.
Additionally, communication during transformation is instrumental in building trust. Transparent communication shows that leaders value the input and concerns of their employees, and are committed to keeping them informed throughout the process. This fosters a sense of trust and credibility, enhancing employee engagement, cooperation, and willingness to embrace change. In summary, communication during transformation is vital for ensuring clarity, managing change effectively, and building trust among stakeholders, ultimately contributing to the successful implementation of the transformation initiative.
How Can Leaders Communicate Effectively During Transformations?
By following these strategies, leaders can enhance their communication effectiveness during transformations, fostering understanding, engagement, and successful implementation of the change initiatives.
- Develop a Clear Communication Plan: Leaders should create a comprehensive communication plan that outlines the key messages, target audience, communication channels, and frequency of communication. This plan ensures consistent and timely information flow throughout the transformation process.
- Be Transparent and Authentic: Leaders should be transparent about the reasons behind the transformation and the expected impact. They should communicate openly about the challenges, risks, and uncertainties associated with the change. Authenticity in communication builds trust and credibility.
- Tailor Messages to Different Audiences: Different stakeholders may have varying levels of understanding and concerns regarding the transformation. Leaders should tailor their messages to address the specific needs and interests of each audience, ensuring they receive relevant and meaningful information.
- Two-Way Communication: Effective leaders encourage two-way communication. They actively listen to feedback, concerns, and suggestions from their team members and stakeholders. They create opportunities for dialogue, such as town hall meetings, workshops, or one-on-one discussions, to foster an open and collaborative environment.
- Use Multiple Communication Channels: Leaders should utilize a variety of communication channels to reach different audiences effectively. This can include team meetings, email updates, intranet platforms, newsletters, video messages, and social media. Choosing the appropriate channels ensures information is accessible and reaches the intended recipients.
- Repeat and Reinforce Key Messages: During transformations, it’s important to repeat and reinforce key messages consistently. This helps ensure that the vision, goals, and progress are communicated effectively and understood by all stakeholders.
- Empathetic Communication: Leaders should demonstrate empathy and understanding towards the concerns and challenges faced by their team members during the transformation. They should actively communicate support and provide resources to help individuals navigate through the changes.
- Celebrate Milestones and Successes: Recognizing and celebrating milestones and successes throughout the transformation journey reinforces the progress made and boosts morale. Leaders should communicate achievements and highlight the positive impact of the changes on individuals and the organization.
- Provide Timely Updates: Regular and timely communication updates are crucial to keep stakeholders informed about the progress, challenges, and next steps of the transformation. Consistent updates maintain engagement and minimize uncertainty.
- Seek Feedback and Adjust Communication Approach: Effective leaders continuously seek feedback on their communication efforts and adjust their approach accordingly. They remain open to suggestions and actively address any gaps or misunderstandings in communication to ensure clarity and alignment.
Hello, I’m Cynthia Short from Lexico, a transformation services consultancy in this video we’re going to look at the culture shifts required on the journey to becoming a data-driven organization and the critical need for communications in that process. I’m joined by Lexico advisor and communications expert, Jason Evans. Thanks for joining us today Jason. Hey Cindy it’s my pleasure, thank you.
So what do you think leaders need to focus in on to kind of help, you know, all of their teams navigate this kind of change successfully?
Well, I don’t think it’s any surprise that you know, first and foremost leaders need to set the example right. In set the tone for having a data-driven culture. You know, we find the culture, excuse me, companies with strong data-driven cultures tend to have top managers who set the expectation that decisions must be anchored in data, right? That starting with data is normal. That’s just how things are done. It’s not novel, it’s not exceptional, it’s the way of business. And, and they do this by example, right? They start their leadership meetings by looking at, you know, detailed summaries of proposals and supporting facts to ensure that they’re making evidence-based decisions. Right? So they’re putting these sorts of practices into action and these sorts of things then, you know, propagate downwards where employees who want to be taken seriously, then learned that they have to communicate with their senior leaders in the language of data.
Right. communicate in their terms. And we see this propagate from there. So, you know, first and foremost, it’s, you know, setting that example we also see the need to, you know, communicate, communicate, communicate, you know, this is you know, just fundamental to a, a fundamental responsibility on part of leaders to, really communicate the value, the why, the transformation story, you know, thinking especially about how this benefits employees, how it benefits customers, how it benefits projects you know, so we find that leaders are regularly providing, you know, top-down reminders about thinking data first. They are you know, recognizing the efforts of those who are thinking data first. You know, highlighting and celebrating the successes and, and quick wins to reinforce those behavioral changes. And they do this through a variety of channels, a variety of approaches to really meet employees on their terms, engage with employees on their terms.
You know, they’re also mobilizing and empowering, you know, champions throughout all levels of the organization. You know, doing whatever they can to consistently reinforce inactivates this change. I think another thing leaders can do is, is really set realistic expectations, or even have real realistic expectations. You know, our experience shows that becoming data-driven B requires time, it requires focus. It requires commitment. It requires persistence. You know, we find that organizations sometimes can minimize the amount of effort or fail to correctly estimate the amount of time to make these sorts of wholesale transformation. So it requires patience. It requires fortitude to successfully navigate this long-term journey. And it is a journey, right? It’s not, it’s not an initiative, it’s not a project. It is a long-term journey, but, but that’s where I see leaders really affecting change in seeing success.
No, I agree. I think that the most successful leaders of organizations through this recognize the people side of the shift to data. And that’s, I mean, that’s not uncommon, it’s you know, regardless of any kind of wholesale major change, that’s always going to be the core of it. And you know, it’s just such an important part. I think, to the idea of, you know, communicate, communicate, communicate you know, one of the things and interested in your take too, is the nature of that communication is really important as well. Anytime you go through something major like this you know, and these types of shifts you know, is not the time for, you know, static status report out in terms of, you know, here’s what we’ve done and here’s where we’re going. And, you know, kind of at that level leaders really need to take responsibility for the, making it personal for everyone and making an environment where everyone can see themselves participating, being a key to the, of this.
And, and that takes some real intentionality in terms of when or what and how communication unfolds throughout this, you know, this kind of work. It really is, there’s a vision that really needs to be developed and owned, and again, internalized by leadership so that they in turn can bring their teams along and empower their leaders and build advocates and, and all those important pieces that go into this. And without that, because it is a journey and not an initiative or project with a start and stop date necessarily more a series of them as you go along. But you know, that kind of ongoing intentionality in terms of communication is, is just key it, and it has to be the cornerstone, and it has to be designed smartly from day one, you know you know communicating six months in, and that, you know, in the next two months, you’ll be seeing all these changes is not going to bode well for, for, for any organization undergoing this kind of work. So I think that’s the important thing.
Yeah. I mean, you know, as we’ve said before, it needs to be you know, communication needs to be, it needs to happen early. It needs to happen often. It needs to be transparent. It needs to have a sense of authenticity. You know, it needs to be consistent, you know, there are all, and, and, and, you know, as was mentioned, it needs to be very intentional. Like we really have to think through the people, the stages, the channels, the, you know, the shifts in behavior and mindset that we’re, that we’re striving for because each of those require a different sort of, of interaction, a different sort of communication. And it is you know, just critical to the success of, of these sorts of journeys, for sure.
Well, that is all we have for you today. We do want to hear from you about your experiences in building a data-driven organization so if you get the chance, let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe so we can all be part of more conversations like this together
See you next time.