My wife recently had some back issues. There was a knot in her neck and lower back causing some pretty painful spasms. Over time, these spasms increased to the point where she finally had to see a specialist physician. This specialist explained that the spinal column is like a super highway of information communication. Signals from the brain are sent continuously over this super highway telling our organs and muscles how to work. If one part of this path is compromised, the signals don’t get through. If the lack of regular, unambiguous communication continues, muscles weaken from lack of use while other muscles start to compensate and do too much. This causes an imbalance in our bodies If not corrected can cause severe pain.
This is exactly how communication in a company works also. Strategy and project communication has to flow through established channels from leadership to the appropriate team members. If the communication link to one team member or stakeholder is severed, that link begins to weaken feeling left out and without purpose. The longer the compromise continues, the less involved the team member becomes requiring someone else from the team to pick up the work. This creates a team culture imbalance. If it continues, frustration and resentment ensue and in extreme cases...eventual sabotage of the strategic execution. Sadly, many projects have been ruined by a simple lack of regular unambiguous communication to the right parties.
How to prevent this as a leader?
• Identify your stakeholders
• Identify their level of impact for and from your initiative
• Meet with each to validate their impact
• Design an agreed upon communication plan
• Follow through by working on your agreed upon plan
• Follow up periodically to ensure the plan still meets everyone’s needs
An interesting side note. The specialist also told my wife that once the communication channel is re-established, the muscle won’t just come back immediately to 100%. It will take some time to exercise the muscle back to strength and there will be some minor soreness involved. This is true about strategic execution communication also. The person left out will not come back immediately. As a servant leader, you will need to prove your commitment to consistent communication and ‘massage’ the team member back to health.