Organizational Communication for Business
For many, the major difference between an organization and some random group of people who socialize is their deliberate, collective purposes and the processes that enable those purposes. No organization can thrive without quality internal communications deliberately designed to drive process and promote organizational efficiency. So this is what communication consulting, as a business practice, is all about.
Miscommunication is so costly. Wasting time in meetings. Failing to understand collective purposes or manage them during change. Learning and re-learning the same business and process lessons. Micro-managing when workers could easily operate independently with the right information. Failing to see or hiding from valuable truths. Spending huge resources recovering from misunderstandings with workers or the public. These are the communications issues that can afflict any organization.
What follows here are a few patterns that experienced communications consultants typically exploit for their clients.
Facilitate Group Interactions
A skilled facilitator can really improve the value of group discussion and bring out ideas, opinions and information by inducing cooperation and refreshing honesty. Imagine the productivity of an organization where facilitation techniques are taught to numerous individuals who routinely convert interminable meetings into incisive encounters that render accurate decisions and information. This is not fantasy. It's common where management chooses to accentuate high quality communication among individuals.
Rethink Vertical Messaging
A notable effect of modern communication infrastructures is the flattening of organizations. Leaders talk directly and routinely to any and all organization members when they choose to. And if they're brave enough, they can also listen. The question is, what to say and how to work with exchanges you can't control and information that is unbidden. The bottom-up direction is both a potential problem and an incredible opportunity. The challenge is how to obtain and benefit from honest opinions and knowledge of large groups and subordinates.
Work with Cultures and Identities
A common cause of dissatisfaction among workers is their inability to reconcile self-image with that of the organization at large. Action starts with a clear statement of collective mission and principles, and extends to aligning business practices and individual success measures with the collective vision. You can't change what people think but you can give them clear evidence of the organization's collective direction and then clarify the personal and collective benefits of honest alignment with that direction.
Socialize Business Intelligence
Business intelligence systems are no longer restricted to large enterprises employing expensive automation. Analytical capabilities are now available to even small businesses to envision their operational data in new and revealing ways. The trick is to distribute this envisioning capability throughout the organization to socialize decision-making.
Adopt Knowledge Management
Knowledge management is the practice of collecting, retaining and retrieving useful information, all as a matter of routine operations. We're all familiar with how help desks use information systems to track problems and support us. Well, that's knowledge management! Have you ever thought about the valuable information that's slipping through people's fingers? What kind of technology and practices can enhance organizational knowledge? How do we start? How do we measure success? All good questions to be asked and answered.
Abolish Old Style PR
The idea that Public Relations is for spinning the truth is so yesterday - back when messaging was broadcast and unidirectional. Organizations now work with relationships and establish essential communication channels with their publics and among themselves before they're challenged to need those channels.