This months blog from Bill Spindloe Regional Director of PetroSkills Middle East explores the gap between what REAL NEWS with substance and effectiveness and
“Developing excellent communication skills is absolutely essential to effective leadership. The leader must be able to share knowledge and ideas to transmit a sense of urgency and enthusiasm to others. If a leader can’t get a message across clearly and motivate others to act on it, then having a message doesn’t even matter.”
— Gilbert Amelio President and CEO of National Semiconductor Corp.
Ever noticed how Breaking NEWS in the CNN’s, Fox and even BBC don’t seem to live up to the definition of actual NEWS? It should be ‘Breaking- well not actually , really NEWS but we need to try and keep you tuned to this channel’ – Here’s an example: Breaking News: ‘French President has a Mistress’
Sacre bleu !! Quelle Surprise !! What next ? Are we going to be then told that in other shocking NEWS he also likes soft cheeses, cooking with garlic and shrugging nonchalantly!
Yes I’m being facetious but there is a bigger point here. We are bombarded with messages these days, messages that are taking up valuable brain space. Unless we are careful in our organizations, important messages can and will be lost if we don’t think carefully about how to communicate and help people understand what they are supposed to do with the message.
In a recent Watson Wyatt survey-
‘80% of the 9000 employees polled felt they understood the objectives of their respective companies BUT only 38% felt they had the necessary direction and feedback to play their part in the delivery of these objectives.’
So the companies have managed to drive the focus home, but then have subsequently failed to develop an understanding of how this can be achieved at the individual level. This then falls into the ‘French President has a Mistress’ Breaking NEWS category. The organization’s Breaking NEWS is that they have aspirations. This is not news. Of course they do, and no doubt this is centered around improving profitability and generally just making more money. Due to the fact that there was no further direction as to what to do with these aspirations, it becomes just another sound bite . As a result, the focus expressed by the company simply remains aspirational with a severe lack of any context.
Communication from Leaders needs to include the ability to translate a vision into a reality, follow through, check their employees understanding and ensure that levels of capability are consistent with the levels of expectation. It’s simply not good enough to expect that people will automatically understand.
The leadership lesson? Don’t become the latest Breaking NEWS story.