Our Blog

If, as Peter Drucker is purported to have said, “culture eats strategy…”, then it should also be claimed that “communication devours culture”. What things are said, or not said, “around here” — and how they are said and by whom – have a deep and often untapped potential to positively influence culture, reinforce strategy, drive performance and elevate reputation. In other words, communication has the power to propel an organization forward – or hold it back, so creating the right expectations and practices within your company should be a top priority.  To begin to shape your communication culture, consider these three building blocks:

  •  Be disciplined.Plan it. Model it. Coach it. Measure it. And, reward it. Make thoughtful communication an expectation at every level of your organization. Embrace it as part of who you are and how you get things done.
  • Welcome diverse ideas. Promote dialogue and constructive debate. Listen and learn. Use whatever means are available, formal and informal, to understand on a regular basis what others think of your organization.
  • Be dynamic. Don’t fall into the trap of repeatedly doing what you did last year, last month, last week. Test, iterate and transform. And, when you try a new approach, share the “why” as well as the “what” to garner support and drive change.

And, once you have developed a strong communication culture that is effective within your organization, don’t become complacent. To sustain your competitive advantage, you must continue to nurture and evolve it. No one ever says “Communication around here is perfect” – the savviest organizations know it can always get better.

One of our favorite articles on this topic is “Leadership is a Conversation” [HBR, June 2012], which explains how long-term macro trends are creating a new communication reality. Specifically, our global, networked, millennial-dominant world is contributing to a significant shift in the four “I”s ( intimacy, interactivity, inclusion and intentionality) and generating demand for a fresh communication approach.

Just as the overall cultures between companies reflect profound differences, communication cultures will vary across organizations.  But, the importance – and benefit — of instilling a disciplined, diverse and dynamic communication culture is indisputable … and it requires true leadership and commitment.


Share This