As an entrepreneur, it is your job to move your company forward. You want your company to be successful and prosperous and to develop with high turnover and even more EBIT. You are certainly aware that digitalization offers you opportunities, but also risks, and that not everything has been exhausted yet. So now you’re taking care of the digital change and designing a well thought-out plan for change management. You think of everything. If A does this and B does that, C will happen. Everything is planned through in a structured manner, IT is briefed, and now finally: the roll-out.
And then this! No one really goes along with your plan. On the contrary. They prefer to continue working as before. You see employees who still prefer to work with self-made Excel lists. Preferably stored somewhere where colleagues have no access even though the new programs have much better solutions for collaboration. There is complaining everywhere. Everyone is busy with themselves and maybe with their own own teams. Innovation? Personal responsibility? Commitment? Thinking for yourself? Not a hint. And communication? People talk about each other, but hardly ever really with each other.
The non-communication trap
You have fallen into the same trap as many entrepreneurs before you. You did not pay attention to communication or at least you did not pay enough attention to it. You took it for granted that your people would do what you asked them to do. After all, they are getting paid for it! It is not that simple. You can’t buy commitment. Commitment comes from within every employee individually.
Communication is the “nonplus ultra” in change management. 90% of failed change projects fail because of communication. Communication is therefore also the most important point in corporate development. What good is the most beautiful plan if it is not implemented?
Throw out all employees and start all over again? Perhaps you have already toyed with the idea. The only problem is that it doesn’t bring the desired results. Either the people were already so unruly when you hired them – or they only became so in your company. Both offer little chance for a new start with different people. The problems will be perpetuated until you have solved them. Since you are an important part of your company, you cannot completely delegate communication. But you can’t solve a communication problem on your own. You need a communication strategy that involves your team: every single one of them.
Communication needs trust, appreciation & transparency
Trust, appreciation and transparency are the key success factors in this process. How do you ensure this?
After a reorganization, fear often reigns supreme. Unfortunately, fear is an absolute hindrance to top performance. Top performance can only be achieved with self-confidence. Commitment, innovation and acceptance of personal responsibility are only possible with self-confident managers and employees. That’s why it’s important to defuse fear through communication.
Confidence allows one to feel good about one’s own performance. This reduces fear.
Appreciation shows that employees are taken seriously and that they are valued as people. This also defuses feelings of anxiety.
Transparency curbs chaos and restores the feeling that demands are manageable. Transparency also makes real achievements as visible as hurdles. Transparency provides clarity in the change process.
Communication starts at the top and runs through all levels. Because the participation of all employees is indispensable. Resistance and conflicts can only be resolved with communication across all levels. Thus, communication has a direct influence on the development of the corporate culture.
There is no ONE right way to communicate. There are many good ways. Your communication has to feel right for you and appeal to all employees. It must fit to current and future structures and processes. When designing a communication strategy, you should be aware of reciprocal influences.
Communication and successes
Even the joy of the first successes can only be triggered through communication. After all, you want everyone to persevere. Perseverance requires that successes are known. Best communicated by you personally and from person to person: All employees talk to each other throughout the company. The right occasions, opportunities for participation and formats must be found.
Any difficulties that arise – and there always are some – can only be solved through communication. Creating space for this is also your responsibility as an entrepreneur.
Do yourself a favor. Think about communication from the very beginning of company development, change management and every company decision.
Then the desire to develop into an even more successful and prosperous company, with high sales and even more EBIT, is a logical consequence.
In this sense: Good luck with successful and valuable communication in your company!