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October 15, 2015

Barriers Communicators Face #7 - Your Leader is Trapped in the Tactical

Communication isn’t just tactical anymore; it’s about strategy.

barrier_7

Here are ways you can recognize, respond and help your leader if they are trapped in the tactical.

You’ll hear him or her focus on actions rather than outcomes, which comes across through statements that sound like:

• “I need a memo/voicemail/brochure, etc.”

• “Here’s what I want to say.”

Get your leader to move from a tactical to strategic mindset by saying:

• “Talk to me about what you want to accomplish.”

• “What’s the outcome you seek from your communication?”

• “How will we know when we’ve been successful?”

Here’s what you do:

Encourage your leader to think in terms of a measurable result, e.g., widgets sold, customers served, share of market, or people in seats. This kind of outcome is a consequence of action by teams and individuals whose goal is to deliver on the business objective.

Another way to frame this for your leader: If what they want to communicate isn’t about moving the business forward, it’s important that they think long and hard about whether they should be communicating at all.

There might be other outcomes your leader wants to achieve that are secondary and might be less measurable but still important, like building a critical relationship with someone inside or outside the organization.

Once you’ve worked with your leader to define the outcome (and you both know your audience), work with your leader to define the behaviors and actions communication will drive:

• Use calls-to-action and clearly communicate the actions you want them to take.

• Be specific and give examples.

• Remind your leader that without defining outcome, behaviors, and actions, communication is just information.

Which one of these strategies will you implement to help your leader get out of the tactical?

-David Grossman

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