A key factor in communication is to realise – you are the message.
Nobody really cares what you say…. They look at what you actually do.
In your business, and your relationships (personal, business or romantic), you are the message you are trying to send. Everything you say, or don’t say, sends a message that is liable to be believed over the words you say. In a change management process, as an example, the message sent by management is not just in the communiqués but also in the actions management take and the level to which they involve the staff in the process. If management says they are determined to change the trajectory of the organisation but continue to reward old style behaviour and ignore the new desired behaviour, the old behaviour will win.
Congruent Communication should be a priority for managers at every level of the organisation, especially in a change process. They need to demonstrate best practice, walk the talk (You are the message). If they pay lip service and forget that people test the validity of their words by watching what they actually do … the change process will stall.
In a change process rumours can run rampant so congruent communication is essential. A lack of information can cause more harm than an oversupply, as fear can start rumours. Buy-in is also essential, this demonstrates the company cares and change is a team effort, in which every person has a part to play.
Nobody wants to be told what to do. As adults we want to be part of the solution, or we will often become part of the problem as our resistances dig in. Dictatorial management styles send the message that management does not care and wants things done in their way, the parts (people) are replaceable. Ironically in these organisations the words often say that people are their greatest asset. How we act tells a story of the whole picture, what is really happening, where our actions really do speak louder than our words.
People often need to hear and see the message delivered numerous times before they will believe it. In many organisations there has been talk of change before, much of it was just corporate-speak, they are waiting for a demonstration of purpose and inclusion – not just more words.
The leaders in the organisation who have been working on the concepts and ideas for months may be tired of the message; but for the staff of the organisation it is new, they want to be included (or they will often opt out) and see the change. Stories and actions help clarify the meaning … Strategy stories, the actions of management and getting buy in of the message through participation can give change momentum and drive greater success in your relationships and your business.
As a leader it is important to get You are the message, your actions speak louder than your words.
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