How does your organisation communicate?
We thought we were invincible. Today shows we’re not. How do we handle a situation that we can’t control at all?
Silence on the streets, but behind the scenes a lot of work to do for managers and leaders of organisations. What do we manage first? And what’s the next step?
Let’s start with the basic challenge today: how do we communicate properly with colleagues ánd customers, when social distancing is the best way to prevent COVID-19. Social scientists talk about the law of propinquity: The amount of information shared with individuals decreases exponentially as distance increases between them. And that’s what happens today. Everyone must avoid direct contact with other persons. Online meetings and videocalls become standard, even in family circle. It’s only the beginning of a remote life for the next weeks, months,…
Distance between people can express itself in three domains. Firstly, due to the physical distance, the amount of information exchanged decreases significantly in organisations today. Even more in those organisations that had little cultural history in teleworking. Secondly, the operational distance has consequences on the alignment within teams and projects. Thirdly, especially if this lasts a while, how will we handle and build trust without personal contact? This third domain involves affinity and values.
Many challenges ahead, so keep these 4 tracks in mind for organisational communication:
- Even if you work from home on your own project, create an overview with whom you need to keep in touch and how often and send out those regular invitations. Make your scope broad enough so do not think only of the ones you know best, or whom you work with in a project.
- Create a communication plan for your team and company. Which tools/channels are necessary for what kind of communication or collaboration? Do we chat via Whatsapp, Slack or Microsoft Teams? Shall we use mail for broadcasting messages and ask our people not to reply? Collaborative work via Teams or Slack? Obviously, the plan to communicate with customers will look different than the one you use internally. It’s crucial to make this clear so that all employees have a straight view and will communicate consistently.
- As uncomfortable as it is to have an online meeting with more than few people, decisions are a lot harder to make in the same time frame compared with a face-2-face session. Some of our customers raise their hand to indicate that they want to say something for example. But make even this basics clear!
- While making these changes clear to both our colleagues and your customers, emphasize as well what stays the same. Now more than ever, stability management is an essential ingredient or your business.
Keep up the good work, take care of yourself, your family and your colleagues, and don’t forget to communicate about this!