To Create a Winning Culture, Talk to Your Team Weekly
Consistent communication can create unanticipated compounding effects
Scenario: With so many service businesses founded by first-time entrepreneurs, leadership skills are often learned on the fly. As they grow, their teams are often left unaware of what they don’t participate in directly. This can sometimes turn cultures toxic if fear and doubt are allowed to take hold.
Insight: Leaders who communicate consistently and frequently build more engaged businesses with teams that know where they are headed.
Action: Get in the practice of talking to your entire team once a week, or at least every other week. This means sharing wins, discussing losses and key learnings, and reinforcing the mission of the business. It also means being human and vulnerable.
🤔 What is good communication?
The job I accepted at the start of 2021 has proven to be a great decision. In full disclosure, I had known the owner for nearly 3 years already and had a ton of respect for him prior to working for him.
What I didn’t anticipate, at least to the level I’m seeing after three months on the job, is just how great he is at leading the company he founded 15 years ago. I learn something new about him every time we talk.
Recently the lesson surrounded frequent and consistent communication with his entire company. I’ve known he does this and I appreciate the weekly emails that go out to the nearly 100-person team that now spans North America and Australia.
He solicits feedback from his leadership team and reaches out to the multitude of project teams looking for wins and warnings. On top of the typical news items, he often spends time talking about things that impacted him personally that week.
This past week I had the privilege and honor to send out the weekly email given he had taken some much-needed and deserved time away. Leading up to this assignment, he took time out of his condensed schedule to give me his perspective on why he started the weekly update email several years ago.
Without going into details that aren’t mine to give, let’s just say it resulted in a net positive change in employee morale and has served him well in other unanticipated ways. For example, he can search through the archive and piece together an informal history of client activities, important events, and predictions that have held true.
Even though I mean well here, I’m not doing it the service it deserves. But I will say this: his teams love him and there is an atmosphere of trust within this company that I have never seen working elsewhere or in the businesses that I’ve advised. It’s quite unique in how it has unfolded for me.
😖 What does this all mean?!
Consistent communication can create unanticipated compounding effects.
Deciding to talk to your teams on a consistent basis can pay huge dividends over time. Your team wants to hear from you and what you choose to share is less relevant than knowing that you’re there and present.
It builds trust in your leadership over time and, the more vulnerable you are, the more loyal your team will be. Now, this is all anecdotal but I’m standing behind it for two reasons:
it’s how I personally feel when working with a strong leader
it’s an uncommon position that few seem to consider, which is right up my alley
Case in point, I have a friend that, while he loves his work, feels frustrated by the seeming lack of engagement of the business owner. The company is growing yet there are many routine fires and a ton of misalignment across the leadership team. Just the kind of issues that consistent communication from the owner could stop by sharing the ‘why’ behind what is going on and bringing clarity to competing priorities.
Your homework for today is to try out weekly updates. This doesn’t have to be something to take on alone — bring in your leadership team. Strive to pull insights and news from across your team and share that. Share what is important to you and where you see the company going. Work current events into your message.
Not every week has to be a big update. Just hearing from you on a regular basis will do wonders for your team’s morale. I’d also suggest working in a feedback loop so people feel empowered to share concerns and news they deem relevant as well.
But most importantly, start. And be consistent.
🙋 Got questions?
As always, share your thoughts in the comments. Questions and unique perspectives help build our community, which benefits everyone over time.
Want me to answer specific questions, share them here and I’ll share what I know with you. If I think it will help others, I may even turn it into a future issue (keeping you anonymous unless you don’t mind a bit of limelight).