Communication is not a one-way process; rather there are two key factors which complete the communication process: speaking and listening (Luthra & Dahiya, 2015). For a leader communication is not just about delivering messages. Asking for confirmation or understanding of the message indirectly is a great wait to receive honest feedback. It gives him the opportunity to understand if his vision, ideas and suggestions have been received correctly and what is the effect of them on his audience.
Assess own ability to communicate the organisation’s values
I believe Umbrella’s values fit well with a creative job and working in Umbrella’s Tech department means being creative. It is not unusual for me to quote or paraphrase one or more organisation’s values during a meeting. For example, if I am suggesting someone to experiment something new, I can quote ‘we dare to challenge’ and explain the opportunity she has to do something in a better way, that taking some calculated risk is the way we work.
By quoting ‘we seek to innovate’ I can remember that senior managers regard failure as a stepping stone to success. This approach fosters a safe failure environment as a way to introduce innovation and create an environment where people are allowed to think outside the box and are not afraid to fail.
When a deliverable involves more than one team, collaboration or synchronisation is seen as a factor of risk or possible unsuccess. In this case I quote ‘we build on trust’ to stress the fact that in a big organisation like Umbrella collaboration is key, it’s not an obstacle but something we can rely on. Everybody is asked to do his best to deliver on our promises.
Quoting someone else’s words has the advantage of leveraging the author’s authority. At the same time the delivered message can sound impersonal, or a communication not influenced by personal beliefs. Overall, I think the best is to paraphrase the company’s values to add a personal character to a concept that has a strong authority at its base.
Assess own ability to communicate the organisation’s goals
What I learned so far is that usually it’s hard to connect single deliverables with a company’s strategy goals. At the same time though these deliverables, or as I see them short term goals, can be the major source of job motivation. By explaining to a team how the task they are working on fits into the bigger picture helps to trigger the sense of responsibility and achievement.
An example is the experience model that is one the main strategic goals for Umbrella. It is a long-term challenge that has required a lot of changes and more will come in the future. In my own area this goal triggered a radical reorganisation with a deep rearrangement of resources and responsibilities. In order to proactively communicate with our peers, we organised a series of demonstrations not only to explain the upcoming technical changes but also to stimulate an active participation in making changes. During and after these sessions we received multiple questions about this new way of working and its impact on day to day activities. These questions demonstrated an expected resistance to change. I noticed that by honestly saying that not all details were yet clear and by inviting others to be an active part of the change the overall motivation remained positive.