If leaders cannot transfer critical messages throughout our entire organization, we will never realize our full potential. This is one of the messages we are sharing in our 25-city, Chess Not Checkers tour. The question most have is not why transferring critical information is important, but how?
Unfortunately, I’ve not found a formula or recipe to guarantee success with cascading communications. However, there are a few principles that may help.
Clarity – As with most communications efforts – one on one, or one to many, clarity is essential. If you are the senior leader, you must start the ball rolling and be crystal clear on the content for critical messages. If you are not clear, there is no chance your message will successfully penetrate the organization.
Process – Who will communicate with whom? This may sound simple but it can often be confusing. Be specific. Will each of your direct reports communicate to his or her direct reports? Will the process repeat itself? How long will this take? Is there a deadline? There probably should be.
Expectation – If you decide cascading communications is the strategy you want to employ in your organization, your leaders must understand your expectation. For you to be successful, every leader must embrace the vital role he or she plays in the process. This is not a role to be undertaken if there is time. Part of a leader’s job is to be sure everyone knows what they need to know.
Accountability – What mechanisms do you have in place to ensure key messages are communicated throughout your organization? Are your leaders held accountable for the process? How do you validate success in communications? You may start with a simple Action Item review at a future meeting: Did you all communicate xxxxxx to your direct reports?
Discipline – Although each of the previous ideas will help, when all is said and done, successful cascading communications is about discipline. Are the leaders in your organization disciplined enough to see critical messages transferred to every employee? If not, resolving this issue should be one of your highest priorities if you want to build a High Performance Organization.
Imagine an army without clear marching orders – chaos and defeat are their destiny. Organizations that cannot consistently disseminate critical messages are on a similar path.[GLS_Shield]