This week's Tactics Tuesday asks the question, how critical is staff collaboration to effective internal communication? Practising internal communication to the highest professional standards creates a momentum and an energy that is very potent. But pressing deadlines and endless rounds of sign-off can suck the life out of the best of us. When I was managing a 60-person internal communications team for one of Australia's largest banks, I aimed to instil and uphold the highest standards of communication excellence through staff collaboration. Collaboration was one of our values, and the team lifted to the hilt.
They gave freely of their own time to brainstorm with their colleagues. They stayed back after work on their own time, to help colleagues who were up against tight deadlines and they volunteered to act as a critical second eye in the review of colleagues' work. As a result, we found it much easier to practise communications to higher standards when it was an ethos that our brains embraced, too. As a result, the team built a solid reputation for communication excellence, and this had two effects. The first was that it established a strong level of trust between the team and the managers who we supported, and we found it, then, much easier to persuade those managers around a recommended course of action.
For example, we persuaded the bank CEO to conduct a speed networking session for one of his people leaders forums. Now, this was a risky venture, because speed networking is a bit like speed dating on corporate steroids, but it was an outstanding success, in that it provided a clear line of sight for managers between what each of them did and the bank's overarching purpose. The second effect of practising staff collaboration for communication excellence was that the internal communications team became a very desirable place to work, and I found it even easier to then attract and recruit other excellent members to the team. Collaboration is a pathway to organizational excellence along which internal communicators can lead the way by showing what it means in practice, and everyone benefits. It's not just collaboration within the internal communications team that's important, but equally, collaboration between the internal communications team and a business partner that it either works with or serves, such as HR and IT.
Whenever I hear of an IC team that's fallen out with the HR department - I recall once an IC practitioner proudly telling me that the IC team didn't speak with the HR department - well, when I hear that, then I know without any shadow of a doubt that internal communications in that organization is in serious trouble. That's my tactic for this Tuesday. Staff collaboration is a critical aspect of effective internal communications. What do you think? Do you think internal communicators lead the way on what staff collaboration means in practice, that the happy outcomes are consistent messages, and an aligned approach? Well, that's it for this Tuesday. I look forward to seeing you again soon. Until then, happy communicating.
Lorri Lennon is an award-winning advisor, trainer and author in leadership communication. She has 20 years’ experience managing communications for large global organisations.
Lorri conducts master classes to help participants maximise their communications ROI.
Mariska Mannes is an experienced communication consultant. She holds a Master of Management majoring in Communication, which allows her to bring a blend of qualification and practical experiences to her training programmes. Her expertise is in business and cross cultural communication and behaviour. For more information visit Mariska's LinkedIn profile.