How to Communicate Major Decisions in a Crisis
What’s the biggest decision currently facing your organization in this time of the COVID-19 crisis?
How you communicate can build new levels of trust and unity within your organization and with stakeholders.
Especially in a crisis, don’t take your eyes off culture. It’s all about developing healthy communication in the workplace.
Whatever your message, audiences, or desired outcomes are, you can’t go wrong with these seven, solid communication tips:
1. Start at the top.
Consistent frequency and format build trust. Your people want to know what’s happening from the leader, first. Dependable communication assures people of what they need to know to be in the know.
2. Be timely and consistent.
The events of September 11, 2001, literally rocked the Borders store at the base of the Five World Trade Center tower. Then-President, Tami Heim, took responsibility for updating the entire company every two hours until every employee was accounted for. “This compassionate touch made all the difference in building trust with our people.”
3. Explain where the organization is now—and where you’re headed.
Tell the truth of where you are and what’s coming up. We’re all like kids on vacation, asking “Are we there yet?” Pointing out the next milestone will help lighten a load off your people for the weighty work ahead.
4. Paint the big picture.
People need to connect the dots of what they’re doing and why it matters. Communicate your position, procedure, and plan, and they’ll feel engaged and empowered with their role in the overall goal.
5. Welcome contrary ideas.
Questions and opinions will either flourish in open forums or fester at the water cooler. Contrary ideas tell leadership where more communication is needed. Facilitate the process well and you’ll foster greater, stronger alignment.
6. Get to the heart of it.
Wes Stafford, former president and CEO of Compassion International, says a leader has 90 seconds to stir their own passion and that of others. What is the message, the story, the vision, that your people, your constituents, need to hear?
7. Create a common language.
Great communication takes hold when you give your people the words they need to be effective. By building a common language, you create a consistency that elevates the organization’s health.
How might you apply at least one of these seven tips in communicating your organization’s major decision?
Tami Heim, the current President/CEO of Christian Leadership, believes the priceless outcomes of ministry can be realized “when we embrace the gifts and opportunities God has given each of us.” As Paul communicates: “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given and then sink yourself into that.” (Galatians 6:4, The Message).
As a result of clear, timely and effective communication, may every Christian workplace see increased engagement as our people embrace the gifts and opportunities God has given us, today.
Source: Tami Heim, CEO of Christian Leadership Alliance, “Seven Indispensable Rules of Successful Communication,” BCWI, January 19, 2016.
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