According to Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, “Great leaders are great communicators. It’s not a matter of memorizing and repeating the right words, but of developing the ability to speak directly to other people’s spirits.”
He believes that money does not go to businesses with the best products or services but rather it flows to ones with the best leaders. He went on to say, “When I find a business that is struggling financially, it is often because the leader of that business cannot communicate the company’s vision.”
As Kiyosaki points out, there is a natural flow of communication from leadership and management to the workforce. The questions to consider are: Is leadership and management inspiring the workforce and developing a relationship built on trust? Is it circular communication? Does your workforce, through their performance and productivity, demonstrate their understanding of your vision and business objectives?
Communication, much like focus, flows throughout the workforce in a circular motion. Not only from the top down but also the bottom up and inside out. Are you always beating the competition or are you left wondering why things do not get done in a timely fashion? Do your production levels fail to meet the standards you’ve set or are deadlines rarely met?
According to HR industry analysis, 95 percent of an average company’s workforce is unaware of their company’s objectives and what role their job plays in accomplishing that objective. The root cause of this is communication. Can you really expect your workforce to deliver maximum productivity when they don’t understand how they fit into the objective equation and have no roadmap to get there? The workforce wants to be included, wants to trust leadership and needs job satisfaction to maximize productivity.
Communication Reigns: It’s all about communication. It no longer serves leadership and management to communicate their message one time, in the same format. That would be like viewing the movies, television and the Internet in black and white when bold cinematic HD color is available.
Most employees listen in 30-second sound bites — and expect life to move on every 30 minutes like their favorite sitcom. In addition, the average American is bombarded with at least 600 advertisements and more than 3,000 messages per day in the form of emails, telephone calls, cell phone calls, texts, radio ads, television ads, Internet ads, etc.
All of these compete directly with the message your leaders are presenting to the workforce. Leadership must learn to compete the same way media does – by utilizing different forms of audio, visual and kinesthetic communication to connect with the workforce, and by repeating that message to influence their productivity.
Communication Rules: In order for your workforce to deliver maximum productivity they need to have a roadmap. In addition, leadership needs to know they understand and can follow that roadmap. Communicating your roadmap and the “why” is critical.
Mental communications – this is the way it’s been for the last twenty years. Leadership gives the workforce information in the form of generalities and expects them to perform. Today, the workforce needs to have specifics; they want to know that their contribution will make a difference in the outcome.
When communicating, remember the 30-second sound bite. Distill everything you say and write into short three- to five-word phrases. Communicate the message often and in all forms; audibly, visually and kinesthetically.
Emotional Communications – focus on the workforce. They want to know the why. How do they fit into the grand scheme of things and what are their benefits in relation to increased productivity? They want to be more than a number in a human resources file.
Learn to incorporate the word “feel” into your communications so you can encourage them to express their feelings in return. One of the reasons social media is so popular is that it is a two-way communication form, unlike television which is strictly one-way. Tap into their need for two-way contact and you will connect on a level that results in elevated productivity.
Create as many communication vehicles as possible, such as inner-office Facebook and Twitter connections to make two-way communications easy. And don’t forget face-to-face conversations and hand-written notes – both carry great connection power.
Physical Communications – consider is the silent communications emitted by your workplace environment. What message are you sending? Is the workplace dirty, overcrowded and cluttered? Are the walls still painted that drab green of the 80s and are workers still imprisoned in cubicles?
The workplace environment plays a huge role in the performance and productivity of your workforce. There is a flow to the focus of your workforce just as there is a flow to your communications. When the natural flow of focus is no longer obstructed by clutter and walls or stagnant due to improper placement of offices, productivity will dramatically increase.
Spiritual Communications – leadership in a media-savvy world must connect with their workforce, not just be in contact. The workforce wants to know that their leaders and managers care about them before they will buy in to the business vision.
They need to know leadership cares about them as a person, their families and hardships. When they know that, they will respond positively to encouragement and correction when necessary. They will also give you that much-needed circular feedback, which is so critical to the flow of communication.
Kiyosaki once said that the problem with many specialists or small business owners who seek growth is the lack of leadership communication skills. “No one wants to follow them. Their employees do not trust them, are not inspired by them … they cannot communicate with others.”
By finding different ways to communicate your leadership message to the workforce, you can enhance the productivity and profitability of your company.
Pat Heydlauff speaks from experience. She works with organizations that want to create an environment where employees are engaged, encouraged and involved, and with people who want to be in control, anxiety-free and confident. She is the author of the forthcoming book, Engage: How to Lead with Power, Productivity and Promise and Feng Shui: So Easy a Child Can Do It. She can be reached at 561-799-3443 or engagetolead.com.