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Leadership Communication Skills: Communicating Business Strategy
Research clearly demonstrates that when leaders’ communication is robust, 90% of employees support organizational decisions with their daily work performance. When communication is poor or lacking, only 44% of employees support organizational decisions. Successfully implementing strategy and gaining support for major decisions and direction is a critical focus of the leader’s job.
As managers move up in the organization, each advancement carries an increased responsibility for a broader and more complex level of communication with employees. At lower levels, the focus is on communication with your own direct reports, providing direction, listening to concerns, and solving problems. At higher levels, the focus shifts to determining what leadership messages need to be communicated, how to position these messages, and how to select appropriate media and venues for communicating the messages. The message topics are more complex and have broad impact on a large number of people and issues, and often require a well-thought out strategy and implementation plan.
However, few managers receive training or coaching in how leadership communication needs to change at the upper levels. As a result, middle and upper managers may miss opportunities for influencing and impacting the organization because they aren’t aware of this responsibility and because they lack the skills and confidence to do it well. The leader’s failure to communicate appropriately often creates ambiguity, unfocused activity, misalignment, and misunderstanding about important business issues.
In addition, some managers operate on the outdated principle of communicating only what people “need to know,” instead of what people want to know. These managers forget that one of the most powerful motivators is “being in the know” and thus miss opportunities to enhance engagement.
Equipping leaders with the skills, tools, and confidence to communicate key messages helps you achieve important benefits:
- Improved alignment: Your business strategy deployed throughout the organization more quickly, effectively, and completely
- Key business decisions gain greater support, allowing for faster, smoother implementation
- People buy in to organizational changes, and embrace them rather than resisting them
- All employees understand how their day to day responsibilities fit the larger business direction
- Leaders inspire employees to high performance
Leadership Communication Skills Training highlights:
- How to ensure strategic implementation through leadership messages
- How to create a robust communication strategy
- How cultural differences in a global environment impact your communication strategy
- How to give not only information, but insight – context and rationale
- How and when to use various media and forums for communication: team meetings, email announcements, teleconferences, web meetings, one-on-one conversations, etc.
- The “elevator speech” – what it should include, how to give it, when to give it to keep the focus on important business priorities and direction
- How to tell your company’s “story” in a compelling and memorable way
- How to concisely deliver message points, anticipate reactions, plan a strategy, deliver the message, and respond to reactions
- Practical applications: communicating a change, communicating bad news, messages to create alignment, messages to foster engagement
Leadership Communication Skills Methodology
Participants in Leadership Communication Skills practice delivering their elevator speeches and receive critique and coaching. Also, using the AlexanderHancock communication strategy model as a guide, they gain real-time experience working in teams to develop a strategy for communicating a real situation based on your company’s issues, and practice presenting the strategy. We recommend inviting senior executives to attend these presentations to provide feedback and coaching.
Leadership Communication Skills Customized Solutions
To ensure that training is not just an “event,” but instead produces enduring results, we customize Leadership Communication Skills to fit your unique situation, business strategy, culture, and people. After discussion with you and other experts within your organization, we select the emphasis, specific skills to be developed, key learning points, exercises, and case studies for practice to create a solution tailored just for you.
Leadership Communication Skills Applications
The following are some of the ways our clients have used custom versions of Leadership Communication Skills training:
- To equip leaders with skills and tools for deploying a critical new business strategy
- To prepare leaders to communicate a significant organizational change
- To prepare for mergers and acquisitions, and for the difficult communication required in turnaround situations
- To prepare high potential mid-level managers to take on the complex responsibilities of more senior roles
- To change the culture of an organization
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