When it comes to growing your business, some of the most important components involved are also the most intangible. As a business owner, you’ve probably spent a lot of time developing your product or service, thinking about your business model, or going over your budget. But how much time have you devoted to thinking about your team’s internal communication?
In our experience at Primitive Social (both with our own business and with the businesses we have the opportunity to work with), communication is one of the most critical components to growing and running a successful business. It’s also one of the least thought about or planned for. Here are some things we’ve learned about the importance of intentionally communicating with your team.
Effects of Poor Communication
If you don’t believe that communication is essential to a thriving business, just look at some of the effects poor communication can have on your team and your customers.
- Work falling through cracks: one of the most obvious effects of poor internal communication is that your team’s work suffers. When internal communication is not strong and tightly aligned, leads can be dropped, reports might not be created, or work for customers might not happen when or how it should.
- Negative impact on team culture: it is impossible to build healthy relationships or a positive team culture without strong internal communication. If you have not created a strategy for intentionally communicating with your team, you will not be able to resolve issues quickly and efficiently.
- Poor customer experience: the focus of this post is the importance of intentionally thinking about your internal communication. But poor internal communication will lead to a poor experience for your customers. And that poor experience can eventually lead to your business losing those customers.
Impact of Positive Internal Communication
On the other hand, establishing positive communication within your team has an incredible impact on your business, your team, and your customers. Some of the benefits of creating a process for intentional team communication include:
- Success in work: when your team communicates efficiently and thoroughly, work is done well, and fewer things fall through the cracks.
- Healthy team culture: establishing positive communication results in honesty and openness. Team members feel freedom to ask questions, problems are addressed quickly, and there is less opportunity for people to develop a false narrative about a situation.
- Positive customer experience: when your team is good at internal communication, it will translate to positive communication with customers as well. And when customers receive such efficient communication from your team, your business is more likely to earn and keep their trust.
Guidelines for Intentionally Communicating With Your Team
Intentionally communicating with your team is going to be something that you can always work on and improve, and it’s something that doesn’t have a “one size fits all” approach. But there are some guidelines you can follow to create and evaluate internal communication.
- Create a process for communication: determine the methods your team will use for communicating internally (Slack, text, email, Zoom, etc.) as well as when you will hold meetings in person and when you will use more virtual forms of communication.
- Define expectations and accountability: how quickly do you expect your team to respond to internal messages? When should people reach out in person versus through a Slack message? Does your team understand what it looks like to communicate thoroughly but also briefly in order to respect everyone’s time? It’s important to share these expectations clearly to your team so they know and understand exactly what is expected of them and the people they work with. You also need to let them know how you will be holding them accountable to these expectations.
- Make a plan for handling issues: disagreements and misunderstandings are a given when you bring multiple personalities together. Instead of crossing your fingers they won’t happen, make a plan for dealing with them head on and resolving them quickly. Encouraging this kind of openness and honesty helps to strengthen your team’s relationship with one another.
- Do not dwell on problems: instead of dwelling on these issues or misunderstandings, work to create a quick, effective solution, and then move on from the problem. Make it clear that your team will not make a point of blaming one another, and that resolution is always the goal.
Intentional Communication is Worth the Work
It’s no secret that this kind of intentional communication takes work and time. But the end result is worth the effort. It creates an environment of honesty and trust, where your team members are set up for success, and where your customers are well cared for.
Want to learn more about building this kind of intentional communication with your team? Download our free ebook, “A Team Approach To Growing Your Business”.