Effective communication is the heart of leadership. Not charisma, brand or buzz. It’s the consistent straight talk that informs, involves, inspires. It takes a lot of work.
Even great communicators find a lot can get in the way: uncertainty about the messages that matter or how to deliver them, executive blind sports, culture constraints, or simply lack of time. Communication needs may show up as something else: strategy “lost in translation” or market noise, mediocre results, or new ideas with great potential but lack of resources to get them across.
Leaders who get results communicate with clarity, connection and influence. At every opportunity, one-on-one conversation to corporate white paper. With excellent returns on the effort they invest.
Here are some examples of communication challenges I’ve helped leaders meet.To explore options for help with your leadership communication, please get in touch.
|Great strategy, lack of traction
In spite of capable team and board on-side, results were not stellar. CEO recognized the need to communicate differently to generate the focus and action required.
|FLYNN support: Insight into gaps between what was said and what was actually heard. Communication plan for entire executive team. Writing: key messages, meeting remarks, all-staff updates. Ongoing advice on how to translate corporate-speak to front-line meaning and keep messages fresh.|
|Business owner’s new venture proposal to potential partners. Fast growing firm. No time or resources to take ideas from back-of –the napkin to solid plan.||FLYNN support: Discussion framework to help the owners articulate strategy and anticipate tough questions. Concise, written business plan. Speaking points and a “rehearsal” for making the pitch.|
|Responsibility to plan and lead global partner meeting, the first post-merger. Heavy billable load left limited time to prepare for a productive day that would make optimum use of the rare time together (and build the executive’s profile in the firm).||FLYNN support: Advice on themes and agenda design to emphasize dialogue not presentations. Writing / editing of remarks, discussion questions, pre-meeting materials, and meeting report. Advice on logistics.|
|More leadership presence and influence required. Functional expert, capable executive struggled to get past techno-speak and platitudes, to inspire confidence (of the board, colleagues, and employees)||FLYNN support: Ongoing advice, writing, coaching to help the VP find her voice, hone messages, and connect more with people’s concerns.|
|Management messages not aligned. Senior team was not fluent or congruent in talking with employees about new strategy, goals and expectations, which led to the perception of not “walking the talk”.
||FLYNN support: Message tracks, Q &A’s, and insight into potential disconnects, customized for each manager. Individual coaching where needed to ensure consistent follow-through.|
|Change in strategy and structure; urgency to turn executive plans into results. First step was to convey the substance of the changes and what they meant to all stakeholders.||FLYNN support: Advice on communication approaches for successful change. Note-taking at the strategy discussions to capture the issues, nuances, and rationale for decisions. When the meetings ended, instead of minutes or a report, the corporate story was ready.|
|Kick-off Town Hall amid culture challenges, change fatigue and employee skepticism. Trusted executive, good communicator, uncertain about what to say and how to say it to balance empathy with performance expectations.||FLYNN support: Insight into communicating during change. Speaking points and pre-meeting memos – in the executive’s voice, with the messages people needed to hear, and a more cohesive story about the business plans.|
|Desire for the firm to grow as a responsible corporate citizen. Already committed to giving back and being “green”, but faced with sustainability and CSR buzz, uncertain about relevant risks, opportunities and right next steps.||FLYNN support: Frameworks for assessment, stakeholder insight, strategy map, and the business case. Advice and writing to advance the planning and engage employees in the changes.|
|…and many more communication demands: reports, blogs, white papers, conference remarks, presentations, ghostwriting, video scripts, leadership charters, CSR strategy, business plans.|
|If you’d like to discuss your specific communication challenge, please get in touch. I’d be glad to explore how we could support you.|