Picture yourself standing on one side of a pane of glass, trying to communicate with people standing on the other side of the glass. You can see them. They can see you. But what you are trying to communicate just bounces off the glass.
Sometimes that’s how we feel when we roll out a new idea to our employees! We plan a big meeting, what we are going to say – even how we’re going to say it. But it can seem like there’s something blocking our message. Read on, and discover what I used to shatter the barrier to effective communication!
From the time I first identified Our Values, I knew they were an important message that I needed to transfer to our entire organization.
Effective communication looks a lot like repetition. I’ve discovered some trusted ways to reinforce the most important messages that I want to communicate with my people! The more you reinforce your main message, the more the barriers to communication crumble.
Visual reminders are a powerful method to communicate and reinforce your message to your organization. They keep your message top-of-mind for your team members.
I was open to every kind of way to visually remind us all how we were to behave (Our Values) as we pursued Our Purpose, Our Vision, and Our Super Objectives. Here’s some examples of how we provided visual reinforcement of Our Values:
- We gave every employee a G.I.V.E.R.S. T-shirt.
- Every employee that completed our training received a QIC-Day Certificate.
- We placed a plaque of Our Values in our entryway.
- We highlighted Our Values in Payroll Stuffers every two weeks for a year.
- Every employee received either a lamented workstation display or a framed desk version of Our Values.
- In late December, we mailed each employee’s Personal Action Steps based on Our Values training.
Insight: As leaders we tend to think I said it once so let us get back to work. What I’ve learned is that we all need constant and consistent reminders as to “Who we are” as an organization and to our customers and suppliers. The message never changes, but the method is always changing.
In Jim Collins’ books, Good to Great and Built to Last, the evidence from his research revealed that the organizations with the greatest financial results were the organizations whose employees shared the same values. And they were like fanatics about the values.
The best way to build a high performance, values aligned team is to hire people who share your values.
Hiring Interviews – We changed our interview process and started asking the candidates more questions. This helped us ensure that the prospective employee’s values were aligned with ours.
New Employee Indoctrination/Orientation – We went to great length at the very beginning to assure that the new employee understood “Who we were” and how we want them to behave.
Insight: I learned that when we hire the “right” people with the same values, we did not need a bureaucracy to manage them. But to manage the systems the “right” people used to perform their work.
Employee Evaluations – Even though we should evaluate employee’s performance daily, our annual formal evaluations included how well our employees were “living out” Our Values.
“What gets inspected gets done.” ~Bobby Albert
Meetings provide another way to reinforce your message. When we are face-to- face with our team, we have a unique opportunity to emphasize what is important and echo our Values to our people.
Friday Stand-ups – These were very short weekly meetings with all employees present. This was a great time where we would update people on what was going on in the company and to emphasize and reinforce Our Values.
Business Reviews – During these monthly financial and operating reports meetings. I would often comment about how a situation tied back to Our Values or how the behavior of an employee exemplified Our Values.
State of the Company – Three times a year, we would gather everyone together to communicate the “state of the company”. I would always begin these meetings with a review of Our Values.
I have learned we all need constant and consistent reminders as to “Who we are” as an organization so we truly behave according to Our Values with customers, suppliers and between ourselves.
Every leader can use visual reminders, human resource practices and business meetings to reinforce their key messages to their people.
How have you learned to communicate your key messages to your team? Please leave a comment by clicking here.