Today’s elandas insights guest blogger is Tom Kukla who comes to us with a wealth of experience in Executive Communication, Coaching, Management and Leadership Development. As Principal and Founder of Credere Leadership, Tom trains some of the best and brightest talent at leading Pharma, Bio, and Medical Organizations across North America.
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How Communications Gaps Can Interfere With Implementation
When it comes to communicating with your team sometimes it feels like you have some of the same information exchange challenges we all sometimes face at home. You know what you want to do tonight, but as clear as you think it is in your head, it is not always being heard the same way by your spouse or your kids because they come to the conversation with their own sets of values, priorities, biases, and experiences. ‘Cleaning your room’ means something totally different to you than it does to your kids!
Likewise, in many organizations today, there’s not a lot of clarity being effectively communicated from the top down. There are miscues when people assume that “my executive view of the world” is everyone else’s view of the world. This happens when leadership merely assumes that their message is being heard and assimilated. They need to check in and question their teams to see if everyone is on the same page.
When I was on a recent Pharma panel, executives talked about strategies and even tactics that they were eager to impart to their teams. But it became clear that many of those ideas were not getting clearly communicated down to the people who actually have to implement them. There is an implementation gap because there is a communication gap.
That communication gap is real and it’s literally like a cliff.
How does this happen? The answer most often seems to be coming from the executive level not articulating their vision clearly enough. Even if the vision is clearly articulated, the WHY of what Leadership wants to see happen is missing or never gets communicated down to the people who have to make it happen day-to-day.
This becomes a delay to success as low implementation levels waste time, efforts, training dollars, and other resources. Worse case, the project could be derailed or deemed a failure – not because of weakness of strategy and tactics – but because of weakness in communication.
Tips for Success
So whether it involves debuting a new sales related process or implementing a new technology here are some tips to help leaders more effectively transfer their vision and bridge the communications gap:
+WHY clearly needs to be communicated to everyone on the team. People need to understand what’s in it for the organization, and how this ultimately benefits them in their individual roles. Repeat the WHY every chance you get.
+EXPLAIN it in clear terms to all members of the team. Go beyond email, and set-up in-person information sharing events to create excitement for the new initiatives and allay any fears that can be sparked by the idea of doing things differently.
+INVOLVE the people on the implementation level in the training. Get them to train and teach the people coming up after them. This helps create buy-in. Identify your change agents and collaborate with these newly identified leaders on how to roll out the fresh concepts to the team.
+Get your team members to OWN the process of implementation. Give them responsibility for developing and carrying out the roadmap, and for establishing metrics for success.
+EMPOWER them. If you give your people at the implementation level a real seat at the table they will be unstoppable. Peer training can be incredibly powerful and make new processes sticky in a good way.
Create Passion for the Mission
Listen to your people! Remember 100% implementation of the second best strategy (that your people create) is better than 50% implementation of the best strategy (that you create). Because, at the end of the day, strategies are only as successful as their implementation
Does it take time? Absolutely. But if you don’t take the time now, down the road you will be scrapping the strategy.
Today too many leaders spend more time developing the strategy and less time developing the people who are going to implement the strategy. This needs to be flip flopped. As Jack Welch has said, “Getting the right people in the right job is a lot more important than developing a strategy.”
Empower your people so that they own their jobs, and they are not only doing what is required of them. Enable them to engage at a level where it becomes a mission for them. And Remember, the strategy is never as important as the people implementing it.
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