We are honored to present a two-part blog post from our podcast guest, Kelly Walsh of BraveFireLeader.com.
"How we disseminate communication to our teams is crucial in times of Crisis and Everyday"
In times of crisis, it is easy to see whether there are flaws in your organization’s communication processes. If there are not good plans in place, the rumor mill runs rampant, informal leaders are relied upon for translation and speculation, and anxiety runs high.
As a consultant in Fire and Emergency Services, I often do cultural assessments of teams who are looking to improve how they interact and move the organization forward. A resounding complaint received in surveys is that communication is POOR. This is a source of frustration from leaders who feel like they ARE communicating and wonder where the gaps are.
First, let’s make a distinction between Interpersonal Communication (how we relate and speak to each other), and Organizational Communication (how we disseminate information throughout the organization). This blog will focus on Organizational Communication and will be a two-parter with tools you can use right away.
Next, we will examine what you have in place and a good way to review or improve that. The next blog will give you a way to have solid content and a great flow of important messages throughout your organization.
When I work with a leadership team, I notice leaders expressing frustration that they are always putting information out, yet the rumors are still flying, and people aren’t reading the emails they send. Their frustration leads to a “why bother?” feeling. One group I worked with felt they were “always communicating,” and the staff was not disciplined about reading the communications. “They have to meet us halfway,” one said. The symptoms of this were staff complaining, morale low in some areas, and trust of the rumor mill over the words of the leaders.
Their problem was a lack of a “Communication Strategy." They dropped emails or texts for various things, but there was no consistent message vehicles or a place where they could go to verify the information.
The good news is there are some simple, thoughtful ways we can regain control of communication in both small and large organizations or even sections/divisions. These are things we can do on a large-scale crisis issue like an emergency change of medical protocols during a pandemic, or something that is not a crisis but certainly important to all employees like a change in promotional testing procedures.
Let’s look at how to improve no matter where we are our communication journey (and it is a journey, not an event):
Steve Greene is the president of 5-Alarm Task Force Corp., a 501 (c) (3), non-profit company and the Creator/Host of the "5-Alarm Task Force" podcast.