Communication within an organization is crucial to its success and has a direct impact on the bottom line as well as organizational culture. To have effective communication you also need to have trust. Trust in leadership, trust in employees, and trust in one another so that information freely flows top down and bottom up. While vision and strategy are typically established by leadership, the implementation needs to be supported by the entire organization to be successful.
The revamping of the communication structure by Rolls-Royce Engine Services – Oakland is a great example of the positive business outcomes possible when there is open two-way communication between employees and leadership through connecting leadership with employees in their environment. At Rolls-Royce, “Using open, direct, face-to-face channels encouraged employee feedback, opened up the airwaves and allowed transmission of unfiltered ideas… breaking a pattern of distrust.” (Dulye, 2009, p. 33). As that trust was built with leadership interacting with employees utilizing their walk-around program, “to hear what employees had to say, and use that newfound knowledge in constructive, value-adding ways. The walk-around eventually became the number one source of improvement and innovation ideas. It became a valued component of a “winning” business strategy.” (Dulye, 2009, p. 34).
The Sixth Dimension of Organizational Capacity for Change: Communication Systems, involves trustworthy leadership, trusting followers, systems thinking, communication systems, capable champions, and involved mid-management. (Judge, 2013, p. 84). While I do not believe that all communications processes are equal, if an organization has these dimensions in place and are consistently and continually communicating what is taking place, how it’s being measured, and holding everyone accountable to the goals, then the communication processes will be effective – albeit varied depending on what message needs to be delivered.