Clarity is king is my tagline, because communication and comprehension are different things.
The CEO was pleased with herself after an employee survey showed 84% of her managers agreed with the statement, “I am clear on our organization’s top priorities.”
But when a follow-up survey asked the managers to list the top five strategies, fewer than 33% could name even two.
When the same survey is conducted at other companies, results show, on average, only 55% of middle managers can name even one company strategy.
That figure plummets to 16%, when frontline managers take the survey.
Why does communication so often fail?
Sull gives three reasons. CEOs:
- Dilute the message. One company he studied has not only a long list of corporate strategies and objectives, but a list of corporate priorities, a list of corporate values, a list of core competencies, and a dictionary of strategic terms.
- Change the message constantly.
- Measure communication of the message by inputs—documents, e-mails and meetings—instead of understanding, "the only metric that actually counts."