Communication, communication, communication

This post has been inspired by my reflections on my experiences with a range of projects in the past which has confirmed to me the importance of communication in ensuring whether a project is successful or not. I thought it might be helpful to bring these together in a single summary as communication is so important.

When dealing with a major change programme it will be very rare to get all of the communication right – but it is extremely easy to get it completely wrong. My personal definitions of getting it wrong are:

  1. only sharing information with an ‘inner circle’ of the great and the good and then expecting the other people who are affected by the changes to just take it without complaint.
  2. giving out information only when there is something significant to say or a big change happening – the rumour mill will take over as communication will happen whether you want it to or not. People will always want to know what is happening so if you don’t tell them (even if all you are saying is ‘there is nothing to say’ they will fill the void.
  3. limiting the information that is given out to very bland or basic statements – it is important to be as open and honest as you can be (although there will always be sensitive items they need to be shared with the people affected as soon as possible, confidentially if necessary).
  4. giving out information on an irregular basis so people never know when they are likely to find out what is happening next.
  5. giving different messages to different people – so that when they compare what is said they do not believe any of what they have been told even if the messages are correct and have just been expressed in different ways.
  6. missing significant groups of people out of the whole communication process.
  7. only putting the information into a single format that not everyone can access (like the filing cabinet in the basement in “Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy” by Douglas Adams.

I have shared my reflections on better ways of communicating in a range of previous posts:

In summary the ways in which you can ensure that communication is a positive force in the work you do are to:

  1. have a clear communication plan which is agreed and signed up to by all partners
  2. include all of the people who are to be communicated with
  3. include all of the ways in which the communication will be handled
  4. make the dissemination routes for the information as wide and inclusive as possible
  5. have a clear timetable for communication – never less than once a month – and keep to it. It can change at different times in the project and may come down to once a day at significant points
  6. agree the wording that is going to be used – either in advance in the communication plan or, if it is something that has to be done quickly agree who will have the responsibility for composing the communication to be used.
  7. be consistent

What have I missed? I would be interested to hear your experiences of communication in your work life. If you would like to do a guest post please get in touch.

Feel the Fear and do it anyway

I have been very quiet here as work has been taking a lot out of me, not helped by breaking my wrist in June and having a colitis flare up in September. This has led me to decide to make a very big change in my life and stop working for a local authority and start working for myself.

I have been aided in this decision by finding a new profession to join (my third) which will still use the skills I have developed over the years. This new profession is Multi Level (or Direct) Marketing. It will use my organisational, people and leadership skills and will reward me according to how much effort I put into my new business. – KMCForever.

I am very impressed with the company I will be working with – Forever Living – as they work to values I strongly believe in. They are especially good at supporting their distributors and have Investors In People Gold standard. This is at a time when many organisations are moving away from this quality standard as they see it as a business expense they cannot afford in times of recession. This is a false economy, in my opinion, as if you don’t look after your workforce then they are not able to look after your business for you. Forever Living demonstrate the effectiveness of their approach by continuing to grow year on year even during a recession.

I will also be developing a consultancy as KM Consulting where I will be able to share my considerable skills in senior strategic and change management as well as the management skills that will be developed in my new career.

Moving into self employment will give me more time to develop this blog and my health blog called CoeliacLibrarian.

And the reason for the heading at the top? It is very scary to step away from salaried employment, but I am still going to do it. I need to move into a role that enables me to take better care of myself, and where I can still help and support the people who work with me.

So look out for my new businesses and get in touch if you want to find out more about working with me in Forever Living, or need support in improving the Health and Wellbeing of your workplace.