Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve heard many anecdotal stories about things that worked and things that didn’t – from communications strategies to leadership styles. We’re about six months in and have learned a lot in many cases. As you begin to plan for the next six+ months, now is a good time to reflect on what’s worked (and what hasn’t), so you can make the adjustments needed to be even more effective going forward.
As you begin to reflect on internal communications, push yourself to move beyond the anecdotal and test your experience so you can think through how you want to rebuild.
Think of this as your “after action review.” It’s important to be as brutally honest as possible. We propose taking this 3-step approach:
- Conduct a complete inventory so that you can build a hypothesis about your go-forward Communication Plan. You can do this on your own or with your team. What’s important is to walk through and set the baseline for your perspectives. In this inventory, make three columns: What did we start doing? What did we stop doing? What do we want to keep? And fill them out accordingly.
- Once you have a clear understanding of your perspectives, compare them to the perspectives of internal stakeholders—either the team member who participated in the communications or the executives who were making decisions through the crisis. How does their take align with yours? How is it different?
- Test your hypothesis with data. What feedback did you get during the process? Was there consistent or clear feedback on what was working and what was missing? Were there quantitative measures, including surveys? Did people do what they needed to do when asked?
This is a real opportunity to move away from personal preferences, or the old ways of doing things and rely on what actually worked. For example, if someone expresses a preference for a certain type of communication, challenge whether it fits into the needs of the company and aligns with business priorities going forward. People will often add requests, but this is the opportunity to apply rigor, challenge the request, and see if it drives the company forward.
Remember, as you reflect on communications over the past several months, you need to be honest in your assessment, but also build a measurable platform for how you want to implement your go-forward plan. Gather information and really define your communications approach in a way that continues to be a critical component of your business strategy.
How might your organizational communications benefit from a refresh in the year ahead?—David Grossman
To take a deep dive into how we recommend rebooting your communications plan for the future, review our 3Rs Internal Communications Model and comprehensive guide. Click below to get the guide and access to 3 free tools & templates.