Updated: Aug 28
Effective business communication is at the heart of successful organisations, it acts like the blood in our bodies, but instead of supplying vital oxygen and nutrients, communication supplies information and motivation. Everything you do in the workplace results from communication. Business communication is fundamental within an organisation to bring about coordination between the leadership, managers, employees, teams and departments, allowing them to focus on their customers. Communication provides the feedback that enables a cycle of continuous improvement.
As a business improvement consultant with over 30 years’ experience delivering operations or projects in over twenty countries, I recognise that at the core of nearly all business problems there is invariably some communication failure. Employees may not understand the strategy or how they fit because it was not communicated properly. It can be the lack of communication between two functions, headquarters and division, or two individuals at loggerheads. It can be operating procedures not communicated properly across an organisation or insufficient communication of a change. The result is usually the same; poor financial performance, damaged relationships, and disgruntled customers.
“When I find business problems, I find communication failure, and when I find communication failure, I find business problems”
Important Elements of Organisation Communication:
~ Leadership: Communication of the strategic and operating plan will align the organisation’s resources towards the vision, goals, and customer requirements. Failure to communicate this effectively will undermine the entire strategic effort and erode trust in the organisation’s leadership. This failure will have a direct impact on the employee, the organisation's culture, the ability of the organisation to satisfy customers, and, more importantly, stakeholder value. Leadership must implement a proficient communication system and process that set the organisation up for success.
~ Management: Management’s ability to effectively communicate with their team will help them perform their responsibilities and successfully execute them. Managerial tasks such as planning, organising, directing, and controlling cannot be conducted without communication. Good communication within an organisation can help foster cooperation between members of management, functions, the team, and individual employees. Communication is a motivational tool for management to influence the performance of employees. Management’s communication skills will define success in their role; strong communication skills could lead to promotion, but if you don't like communicating with your people, you're probably in the wrong job.
~ Employees: Communication should motivate and align employee roles with an organisation’s vision, goals, and direction. It empowers the employees, the organisation’s greatest asset, to deliver customer satisfaction and organisational value. Communication should create transparency and a trusting culture. Individuals will feel valued, listened to, and an important part of a cohesive team, and will they work towards a common goal. Regular internal communication will lead to an improved work ethic if an employee’s achievements are recognised. These highly motivated employees will be empowered and understand how their role delivers customer requirements and organisational success.
~ Customer Focus: Communication with the customer is essential to satisfying, if not surpassing, their needs. Having a proficient internal communication system and process is the foundation to building strong external customer communications and focus. Effective communication will support the organisation in getting to know its customers and better filling their needs. The organisation can then focus their resources and expertise on supplying customer needs and, in turn, become a trusted supplier. Continuous communication and feedback gathering will build a long-term profitable business relationship with your customers.
~ Improvement Culture: Continually improving the organisation’s communication systems and processes will provide the information and data to continue the value cycle from developing more challenging strategic goals through to more satisfied customers. Again, this starts with leadership communicating the organisation's mission, values, vision, strategy, and measures. Managers plan, organise, direct, control, and motivate employees. Employees understand their role and are empowered to surpass customer expectations. As a result, the customer remains local, the market recognises the expertise, and new customers join to deliver organisational value. Thus, proficient communication enables step-by-step improvement towards a culture of continuous improvement and customer satisfaction.
Summary: Communication is at the heart of the organisation, supplying the lifeblood needed to operate. Hence, one cannot overlook the importance of communication in delivering organisational value. As usual, it starts with leadership putting in place a proficient communication system and processes to create a culture in which effective communication can flourish. It means ensuring that communication flows through the organisation from the top to the bottom and with the customer. It communicates the strategy and operating plan, clearly articulating how each person has a role in delivering value for the organisation. It should have a proactive feedback loop to allow for questions and challenges.
“Effective business communication is at the heart of successful organisations, it acts like the blood in our bodies, but instead of supplying vital oxygen and nutrients, communication supplies information and motivation”
Further Reading: Change Management Handbook - Leadership of Change Volume 3
Peter consults, speaks, and writes on the Leadership of Change®.
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Peter F Gallagher is a Change Management Global Thought Leader, Guru, Expert, International Speaker, Author and Leadership Alignment Coach.
Listed #1 by leadersHum Top 40 Change Management Gurus You Should Follow in 2022 (Mar 2022).
Ranked #1 Change Management Global Thought Leader: Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Change Management (2023-2022-2021-2020) by Thinkers360.
Ranked #1 Business Strategy Global Thought Leader: Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Business Strategy (2022) by Thinkers360.
Ranked #2 Leadership Global Thought Leader: Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Leadership (Aug 2020) by Thinkers360.
Business Book Ranking
Change Management Behaviour - Leadership of Change® Volume 6, listed among the 50 Books from Thinkers360 Thought Leaders to read in 2022.
Change Management Adoption - Leadership of Change® Volume 5, listed among year-to-date’s (Jul 2021) most popular books on business and technology from Thinkers360 member thought leaders.
Change Management Handbook - Leadership of Change® Volume 3, listed among the 50 Business and Technology Books from Thinkers360 Thought Leaders to read in 2021.
Change Management Pocket Guide - Leadership of Change® Volume 2, ranked within the top 50 Business and Technology Books (Jan 2020) from Thinkers360 Thought Leaders.