I am going to cut to the chase. In my experience, and in my opinion, the secret to success is good communication. I have been studying human communication since I was in college 30 years ago. I am fascinated by it, and my profession allows me to have a unique platform from which to view a business and its leaders. I get to walk the halls, ask lots of questions in real time and observe all forms of interactions. What I have witnessed and learned is that growing businesses and successful leaders know how to communicate.
I have been studying human communication since I was in college 30 years ago.
We hear and read much about the need for innovation, good strategy and continuous improvement. Companies worry about talent acquisition and retention. For years we have been told of the importance of the “P’s” such as product, position, price and promotion. But, none of these in the absence of good communication will deliver sustainable results.
But, none of these in the absence of good communication will deliver sustainable results.
So if you want to grow, you need to communicate better. That sounds simple, doesn’t it? Trust me, it’s not. Good communication is complex and multi-layered. It requires organizational awareness and focus both internally and externally.
Good communication is complex and multi-layered
Internally, organizational communication is foundational. A company must be able to communicate its purpose, vision, values and desired outcomes. Even the best strategy and clearest vision can do little to move a business forward if lost in translation. In successful organizations, if I were to query employees, they would be able to articulate purpose, vision, values and outcomes in their own words. Furthermore, they would understand how their role impacts each of those key aspects.
A company must be able to communicate its purpose, vision, values and desired outcomes.
Interpersonal communication impacts both the efficacy of leadership and the collaboration among peers. We have all had those leaders for whom we would step in front of a bus. Why would we do that for them? Because they knew how to talk to us. They validated us, made us feel important and part of something bigger than ourselves. Good leadership starts with communication and successful businesses must have good leadership. It is also important that an organization arm their people with the tools needed to communicate with one another. You need friction to grow. It is the kindling that fires innovation and change. But, without the needed skills to have those tough conversations, that friction can become divisive. That is how silos and camps get built. Even worse, companies begin to avoid friction to the detriment of creativity.
We have all had those leaders for whom we would step in front of a bus.
Good external communication is equally vital. How you communicate with and to your customers is critical. If your people don’t know how to talk about your company, brand or product you’re in trouble. Even more scary, is not having the ability to ask the right questions to learn what you need to know from your customers. Remember, communication is absolutely a two-way process. Successful companies have great listeners, not just great talkers. Sometimes the best way to make a customer feel good about doing business with you is to simply listen to them.
If your people don’t know how to talk about your company, brand or product you’re in trouble.
I have an experiment that I like to conduct as I roam the halls. I walk up to people and ask them to tell me the three things I should know about the company if I were a customer. In companies that are doing well, those answers are quick, to the point and are similar in nature. In companies that are struggling, I am usually met with that deer in the headlight look. When the answers come, they are usually long, not very actionable and differ significantly from one person to the next.
We live in a social media driven world. Every positive customer interaction creates an opportunity for a new ambassador.
Finally, successful companies help their customers communicate about them. We live in a social media driven world. Every positive customer interaction creates an opportunity for a new ambassador. Organizations that have great communication seize this opportunity and create easy ways for their customers to share their experiences.
I believe that good communication is absolutely the key to success. The amount of time and energy spent on innovation, technology and strategic planning is all wasted if a company can’t communicate internally or externally.
Social media is an incredible thing. It transforms an article into a living organism that is capable of starting a conversation. It is in that spirit that I offer the above thoughts. I have shared what I feel is the secret of success. Now I ask for your opinions, do you agree, or feel there is something more important? Please share in the comment section below.
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Elliot Begoun is a Business Growth Specialist and the Principal of The Intertwine Group. His purpose is to grow businesses and business leaders. He helps organizations establish strategic guardrails, develop integrative leaders, foster employee enlightenment and practice mindful marketing. Elliot works with businesses internationally serving as a consultant, coach, speaker and facilitator.
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