Your Communication Strategy is Part of Business Structure
There are only two kinds of business structure: adequate and inadequate.
In an inadequate structure behaviour and results oscillate, go around in circles and lead to the question, “Haven’t we been here before?” Neither employees nor customers can follow what we’re saying or doing. We’re inconsistent because we ‘communicate’ without thought about purpose, goal and values. We lose sight of what we want people to do with the communication, making the communication a waste of effort.
With an adequate structure the entire business is moving forward, adjusting for bumps in the road and demonstrating resilience. In an adequate structure, behaviour and results evidence common purpose, goals and consistently mindful communication.
If you’ve ever experienced an inadequately structured business where conflicting instructions or expectations are the norm, you know the frustration and intransigence that inevitably leads to even the most competent individual becoming incompetent. If you’re like me, you separate yourself from those businesses at the first opportunity and work diligently to create adequately structured businesses.
The bottom line is that no business benefits from inadequate structure (although the competition invariably does).
An adequately structured business is one in which every person involved (internally and externally) knows and takes action to support the:
Three simple words which when applied with mindful communication become powerful business tools.
Mindful vs. Mindless Communication
The purpose of communication is to prompt action from the recipient that serves both the business and the recipient. Mindful communication does just that. While mindless communication prompts action, it rarely leads to action that delivers return on investment.
Through my company, Red Shoe Savvy, I was developing pre-production video content with a tech business whose product is viable, and whose team is knowledgeable and creative. The owners of this business have a specific purpose, defined and closely-held values and clear goals for the business. They plan to deliver a specific product to a niche market located across the globe. They want the viewers of their video to feel positive, empowered and valued. They want to build, through positive actions, a stronger community.
So what would happen when the content of the opening series of videos was neither positive nor empowering? What response could be expected when the content revealed an underlying current of anger and resentment? What would their audience feel and do after watching the video they brought to the table? Most certainly they would respond, by expressing their own stories and feelings. Would they embody safety, empowerment and value? Not likely. Would they trust this business? Not likely. Would they buy the product? No.
Until I pointed the owners, who wrote the video content, to the conflict between their intentions and the video content, they were unaware of the impact of their words…. When I questioned their view of the likely outcome, the video content was mindfully rewritten.
Mindful communication influences the choice of actions taken by co-workers, customers, suppliers, industry and community. In order to be mindful, every communication must align with what people know and feel about the business.
In order for us to achieve mindful communication, we want to ensure that each message, whether face-to-face or virtual, written or video is:
Honest communication resonates with the recipient because it reflects what the recipient knows and feels about the business. Good news, bad news, information, direction are delivered without manipulation.
- True to the Business Structure
The Purpose, values and goals of our business are enhanced and honoured in every communication. The fastest way to negatively impact any communication is to display a lack of respect for the business structure creating confusion and damaging the good will of the recipient.
Compassion is a sympathetic consciousness of how a communication impacts the recipient. We are compassionate when we recognize what’s going on for the person or people with whom we’re communicating, and our content contains respect.
Without honesty, truth and compassion we lose the ability to impact actions.
Mindful communication leads to what I call “REI”:
- Realizing a defined return on investment
- Engaging recipients’ emotions
- Influencing recipients’ actions
Accredited data informs us that engaging the emotions of communication recipients is critical to realizing our return on investment. In order to engage emotions, we need a thorough and compassionate knowledge of the people with whom we communicate. There are no assumptions made if we do this well. People talk about wearing someone else’s shoes, I’m talking about walking in them, working in them and living in them. Feeling how the shoes fit or don’t. Getting inside the skin of our employees and customers so that the issues we bring through communications strike a relevant chord, consistent with their knowledge of us and enabling us to influence actions. Anything less is a recipe for wasted energy and resources.
What’s In It for You to Communicate Mindfully?
Employee loyalty. Customer retention. Community respect. REI.