Currently we are living a global historic moment of quarantine due to the appearance of COVID-19. This led private and public organizations to once again reflect and reconnect with the fundamental purpose of each, rethinking to themselves their value propositions, operative models, processes, technological infrastructure and culture.
This situation can be translated in one word: Transformation. As easy as it may sound, there are many different types of transformation, ones that can be planned to detail and anticipation for a specific need of improvement, or the ones which, as in this case, force the transformation process to be sped up with little planification and presented upon unpredictable scenarios.
Experiencing a process of transformation implies the presence of changes, depending on the impact each organization took, nevertheless, whichever transformation we are facing in an organization, it will, without a doubt, impact its most valuable asset: their people.
When we talk about our new collaborators or communities will be living a period of adoption, we are forced to lead change with a crucially powerful tool: communication.
Communication has become a vital competence for organization leaders now more than ever. Nowadays, the demand on this practice goes beyond old unilateral methods in which the leader emits a message to collaborators to inform about change, asking for their support, patience and compromise.
The way we communicate before an organizational transformation in a crisis scenario demands much more from leaders and subsequently, we will formulate reflection questions and we will describe some recommendations that will, without a doubt, be of great value to pursue this role.
As a leader of an organization, you can’t expect for your audience just to be collaborators. Research has revealed that in a crisis scenario, the civil society trusts more on the communication companies are emitting than the government themselves. Considering that today, the reach of your voice is powerful for collaborators as it is for your clients, consumers, providers, and society in general. Identify your audiences for you to have consciousness over your impact.
In Mexico 75% of the population have adopted negative emotions such as anger, sadness, fear, disgust and surprise due to the ongoing crisis. It is noticeable that the collaborators in the companies are also going through periods of adaptation with the challenges of work from distance, uncertainty of laboral stability, health vulnerability, etc. All of these factors have raise the rates of depression, anxiety and sadly, suicide. This data can open a range of possibilities to conduct your communication style, since the challenge today is not only to communicate but also to listen.
The messages and media can vary to each audience, nevertheless, it’s important to consider that whatever the content may be, in a moment of crisis it has to be generated from a deep connection with the purpose of the organization, in full consciousness of their cultural DNA and especially from the genuine interest of generating well being among people. Ask yourself in each forum or in each communication broadcast that you want to spread with your message.
An encouraging tone, purposeful, with trust and hope in the future may bring back the optimism to your clients and collaborators to overcome the crisis. This could end up being an easy task, but we can’t forget that the leader, as a human being, is also living through a vulnerable period and confronting their own fears. This intensifies the issues as there will be questions that not even the leader could answer, this is why it’s important to be transparent: it’s okay to say ci don’t know’d, as long as it’s said in a trustful tone where you, alongside the collaborators, can find and reach a definite solution. This way, collaborators can also take ownership of the solutions.
Establish along the change rhythm a cadence that goes according to the Cultural DNA of your organization, try maintaining the rhythm, avoiding the poles of decontextualized information or black holes of communication that only awaken uncertainty. Regardless of the rhythm that has been defined, make sure the messages are blunt, honest, create value and provoke action to whom listen.
We could think of the isolation as a barrier for communication, since historically we have put our trust in direct media to share messages; such as a forum, a meeting room, coffee area, the hallway, etc. The lockdown invites us to reevaluate the benefits of digital communication, such as zoom, Skype, or whichever tool you choose, take the most out of it. Maximize the benefits of these tools reaching more people, countries or continents.
Communication in the face of transformation is bilateral, it’s important to emit a message as it is to listen and observe the impact this had on your audience. Open forums and media that allow you to have the certainty that what you have planned to say is being received the same way, only then will you improve this ability.
You will notice that we are developing a new communication ability as leaders, reinventing the way to reach not only our collaborators but also the communities that our companies touch. Your voice as a leader has never had as much impact as it does today.
In BTConsortium, now, more than ever, are here for you.