What is the ultimate measure of successful conversations?
At the beginning of this chapter, we looked at the drivers of engagement and made the link between engagement and conversations. The way you engage employees is through the conversations you either lead yourself or ensure are happening throughout the organization in a structured and positive way. Ultimately, the quality of those conversations will determine the level of engagement in the organization.
Are you measuring engagement? Most leaders I spoke to have ensured that engagement is a strategic priority. They have set up measures to ensure that levels of engagement are being improved, because of the direct link to improved performance. This isn’t only about improving employee happiness and satisfaction. It links directly with your ability to achieve your goals.
We are living in the age of conversations. Conversations are not only necessary inside the organization but outside too, with all stakeholders. They are the lifeblood of all relationships, a fact that is heavily influencing the entire communications industry today. Long gone are the days when broadcast messages could suffice when building a brand. Leadership is about relationships, and good relationships are about dialogue.
Why? Because great leaders inspire others to achieve great results. They influence how other people feel and by so doing they influence their behaviours. This simple thought has been the fundamental goal of all of my communication advice to leaders over the past 30 years: in order to communicate well you have to know the people in your audience, you have to know how they act and feel, and most important of all, you have to know what you want them to feel and do instead.
In that time, I have used a simple but devastatingly effective communication planning process to ensure that leaders are focused on the right things when communicating.