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Culture and Communication

June 20, 2023

It’s no secret that I believe a healthy culture is crucial to an organization’s success.

But today, I want to examine this topic through a different lens. I’m going to unpack the critical role that communication plays in culture building.

If culture is the key to organization resilience, then communication is its lifeblood.

A solid culture helps an organization persevere when times are tough, but the method by which you build a culture is communication. 

To build and foster a robust culture in your organization, here are four communication strategies:

1. Create a common language.
When your team is reading the same book, listening to the same podcast, or participating in the same training, they are developing a common language around what they are learning. They are processing the same words and the same ideas in the same framework. This allows them to communicate more effectively and connect what they have learned to their work. This happens in sports all the time. When Mark Richt was the head football coach at the University of Georgia, he was famous for saying, “Finish the drill!” While it was birthed out of a mentality to fully finish each component (or drill) during practice, it became a phrase that reminded people to not quit or take a shortcut. When we have a common language, it’s easier for team members to be aligned and communicate effectively.

2. Be clear.
Being clear is about simplicity, and it’s also about directness. Brene Brown says that being clear is kind, and being unclear is unkind. Avoiding tough conversations leads to confusion and disunity. However, being clear with feedback and expectations, even when it’s difficult, eliminates confusion.

3. Be compelling.
Too many leaders miss this one. When people are bored, they stop paying attention. When they stop paying attention, they stop listening. And if someone doesn’t hear what you’re saying, how in the world will they be inspired to act?  If you need help bringing your communication to life, watch or listen to speakers you admire. What about them engages you? Try applying their methods to your own unique voice (or use their messages that align with your values). Invest energy and effort into making communication compelling.

4. Be consistent.
Be consistent with what you are communicating and how you are communicating it. If clarity is about helping people understand, consistency is about reinforcing to drive behavior change. There’s an old saying that “vision leaks.” In other words, people need to be reminded, and reminded often. 

If you want to improve your culture, improve your communication.

If you focus on these four strategies, you will lay a firm foundation for a resilient and vibrant culture.


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