Communication is the most important determinant of business excellence. While most organisations place significant emphasis on communication with external stakeholders, from a business excellence perspective, internal communication is an equally important component
In my previous article, I’d shared some simple checks and balances that organisations can follow, to create an ecosystem which fosters innovation and translates into commercial success. In this article, I’ll be exploring one of the most important determinants of business excellence – communication.
Most succesful organisations are also most likely to be those which communicate well. Communicating with external stakeholders – both existing and potential customers, regulators, government, investors and such, is typically given significant importance, where specialised teams and large budgets are allotted to communicate externally and to measure the effectiveness of their external communications strategy.
On the other hand, though internal communication is quite critical, it is quite often overlooked by orgsanisations. What they often fail to see is that internal communication can play an instrumental role in driving business excellence and help drive home the organisation’s vision, mission and objectives in the employees’ minds.
A recent research and article by Harvard Business Review and McKinsey, the management consulting firm, talks in great depth on these issues, and has been adapted herewith. Internal communication, to be successful needs to achieve the three Es;
Energy : How well and effectively are individuals contributing towards the organisational strategy? Is 100 per cent of every employee’s creative energy being channelised towards organisational objectives? Answering these questions will help understand the focus of each employee and help divert that focus to align with the company’s objectives.
Engagement : Are members within a team communicating with each other, be it through weekly review meetings, calls, or in person town halls? It is important to assess whether they are clicking as a team.
Exploration : Do teams communicate across with each other? For example, is the innovation team speaking constantly with the product prototyping team? Is the sales team communicating effectively with the customer service or product development teams? Is the management communicating clearly with all its internal stakeholders from time to time?
Quite often, the individual level and intra-team communication is satisfactory in most organisations but the exploration bit i.e communication across teams and with the management, which is very crucial, is often left to chance. For instance, at YES BANK, we have constituted BEST – Branch Execution Strategy Template and BELT – Branch Executive Leadership Team as two important tools to ensure that various parts of the bank communicate by design, in a formalised manner and it is not left to chance.
Future of design and innovation
As I come to the conclusion of this three part series, I would like to leave the readers with a thought on how Innovation 2.0 can look like. Some recent articles in business magazines like Fortune provide a wonderful insight into the unlimited possibilities innovation can bring along. The world today is more networked than ever before, and creating collaborative platforms to connect previously isolated industries will be the version 2.0 of innovation in the 21st century. Let me share an illustration to drive home the concept of Innovation 2.0.
There are three fairly disparate companies:
Google: Which has designed the Lidar (Laser Radar) technology that allows a vehicle to create a 3D map of its surroundings.
Tesla : Which has provided returns of 1,200 per cent on Wall Street since its IPO in 2010, leverages its improved battery technology to create electric vehicles that are cheaper, faster and more efficient; a truly all-in-one package.
Uber : A US $3.5billion startup which is disrupting the private auto rental market worldwide. Even closer home, in Mumbai and in Bangalore , the platform is providing a chauffeur driven luxury car experience at prices that are around 30 per cent more than the regular taxi fares.
Now imagine, when these three companies combine their innovations. It can possibly result in an autonomous electric vehicle for public transportation on a mass scale. This could potentially be the biggest disruption of the US $2 trillion global automotive industry, since the assembly line of Ford, over a century ago. Ideas like these show the power of what collaborative innovation can achieve.
Evangelising a dream, being able to crystalise an idea and converting it into action is the order of the new era. Unthinkable success can emerge like a phoenix, even late in the game. That is life through the eyes of a dreamer, a designer with a paint brush that can dare to paint a rainbow even in the darkest sky. The future indeed belongs to design and innovation. The really successful organisations (or individuals) never really seem to be striving to reach the top. For them success is incidental, excellence is the focus.