bobbie smith

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author, message master, strategist, speaker, artist (ink), social media & arts promoter

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

What did I say yesterday?

Look at what messages have gone out before communicating new ones.

A huge mistake managers often make is to communicate new messages without reviewing what they've already said on the subject in the past, hoping no one will notice. Imagine how far a politician would get using that approach. Unfortunately, we can imagine it all too well.

The mistake is not in forgetting what you've said before; with all the messages coming from the CEO, the website, from various marketing and customer service campaigns, it's no wonder we cannot remember what we said yesterday. However, it is our job to either know or find out exactly how we characterize our messages and what we share, even long after we've shared it.

For example, if you tell your team to focus on continuous improvement and then a week later, in a weak moment, yell at someone for taking too much time to reevaluate a process, you'll lose trust and credibility--probably two of the most important badges of honour you could wear, as a manager.

Francis Norman (@FrancisNorman) echoes some of my thoughts in his August 2010 article: Consistency of message in communicating to your team. He, too, notes the example of politicians needing to stay on message and how disasterous it is when they ignore what they've already said. Norman also points out that in the context of projects, while the results may be less 'public', it is just as important to stay focused on message and goals. And that means, reviewing anything you've said in the recent past on the subject first, and communicating second.

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