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Why you should refresh the internal communication around your business strategy on a regular basis

Most of us are creatures of habit. But when someone does introduce us to something new that we like, we love it. We adopt it. With that in mind, as communicators we should seek to refresh our business strategy communications on a regular basis. That doesn’t mean revolution, but evolution.

Consistency of internal communication is so important, but it can also mean messages become tired and invisible. I’m always talking about establishing a drumbeat of messages, but equally, I love new things. There has to be that balance when it comes to keeping things fresh for employees, yet keeping people focused.

Some research has suggested that just 29% of employees can recite the business strategy. But whereas one-third of employees understand the strategy; 60% of executives claim that they themselves understand it. It’s perhaps not surprising given that executives will be having fresh conversations about strategy on a more regular basis.

With that being the case, it’s critical to freshen up the business strategy on a regular basis.

It you are a business like a Centrica or an HSBC then it’s tempting to shun variety and stick to consistency. But is this missing a trick? Shouldn’t your communications encourage some variety to keep the vision and ambition fresh and encourage diverse thinking? Of course, businesses like banks and utilities need to keep the drumbeat going on critical issues like safety, security and risk, but when it comes to brand ambition, it’s OK to evolve the messaging and keep it fresh.

Most of us are creatures of habit. We sleep on the same side of the bed; go to the same part of the railway platform; eat the same regular thing for breakfast; watch the same programmes. We do it because, well it’s just easier that way isn’t it?

But when someone does introduce us to something new that we like, we love it. We adopt it. We do it again. And before you know it, it’s part of that routine. That’s why shaking up the routine, can be a good thing.

But when someone does introduce us to something new that we like, we love it. We adopt it. We do it again. And before you know it, it’s part of that routine. That’s why shaking up the routine, can be a good thing.

Now, I know we are not all the same. Some of us make a point of doing different things every day, but you are the exception, not the rule. Well, you are in my book. More of us are becoming self-centred (not selfish, that’s different). We inhabit a world that has us at the centre, all fuelled by the security we see in economic power; fear of loss, and a fascination with making a mark in the world through the rise of social media. It’s why, despite seeing ourselves as different and individual, we are often not. We overestimate our intelligenceoverestimate our generosity and often believe ourselves to lack bias, when we are biased. As Adam Grant, in The Atlantic says: “You can’t judge whether you’re biased, because when it comes to yourself, you’re the most biased judge of all.”

Routine is a friend to this lack of self-awareness. It allows people to sit safe in their world, unchallenged. Which is why, refreshing messages is so important.

And, deep down we are brilliant at breaking out of our own world and seeing it through the eyes of others. In fact, we do it every day. Consider this from Thomas Scheff Ph.D.

“A study of recorded conversations analysed adult dialogues nine minutes long in seven conversations (14 different people). In the segments recorded, the average length of silences varied from an average of .04 to .09 seconds! How can one possibly respond to the other’s comment in less than a tenth of a second? Apparently, one needs to begin to form a response well before the other person has stopped speaking. That is, humans are capable of multiprocessing, in this case, in at least four different channels: listening to the other’s comment, imagining its meaning from the speaker’s point of view, from own point of view and, forming a response to it.”

Deep down in our psychological selves, we naturally seek to see the world in a different way. The human psyche is set up that way. With that in mind, as communicators we should seek to refresh our business strategy communications on a regular basis. That doesn’t mean revolution, but evolution.

As communicators we should seek to refresh our business strategy communications on a regular basis. That doesn’t mean revolution, but evolution.

Take the Apple iPod advertising as an example. There is a fantastic sense of consistency that one can see down the years, and yet creatively it has refreshed itself over and over, keeping it alive in the minds of consumers.

Why should internal communicators not be applying the same disciplines to their own practices when it comes to internal business strategy campaigns?

We should.

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