Keeping your team up to date is a critical communication strategy. There’s always more information, more to say and more to update than we can communicate easily. As team leaders, we want to be transparent, efficient and effective in communication. To be transparent, we strive to update all our team members simultanously on the current initiatives, tactics and operations. It’s all about what’s the most efficient way to do this, rather than a blanket email. Being effective encompasses both of these values as well as doing our work as a thought, vision and strategic leader. Here are 3 team strategies that I use routinely for effective communication.
Strategic routine phone calls
It all started because there are so many details and so many emails in my work as NAPO President. Rather than email daily with an unconsolidated list, early on my Executive Directors and I determined that two calls a week could cover what we needed to cover with strategies and tactics. These calls have an agenda that we complete as we gather information. The agenda has a spot for actions that we can refer to and complete. Our Executive Directors value this since our conversations are high level, strategic and succint. We allow 45 minutes for the calls, talk at the beginning of the week and end of the week. It’s brought us and our work together.
Strategic use of tools
Google docs has become our most strategic tool for communication. Google docs are an array of possible documents including spreadsheets. This is a free option and we can access on all devices. We have several google docs that are used for different agendas. The President and Executive Director doc includes topics that are most important to discuss, FYI (not discussion, just for your information), and the list of Requests for Action (RFA) for our next meeting. The Executive Committee google doc is an open agenda. As a leader of your team, determine what is required for weekly discussion. This tech tool is one of many different tools I recommend for leadership for many different actions.
Strategic long term communication
There are several factors important to communication. It’s what you are sharing, how frequently you share it and who you share it with. A monthly update, posted to a community internal board, keeps everyone apprised of strategic work. The update can be an excel spreadsheet chart with a column for completion or a narrative update. Posting these with a year then month gives your team the option to see several months and review progress. This all starts with your annual strategic planning, leading to initiative throughout the year. Posting this monthly offers the opportunity for updated projections, updated tactics and assessing success.
Start your communication with a discussion about options. Set a routine time to meet that offers everyone a time to do their most important work first and then update at a least productive time. Be sure everyone updates their planner at the start of your collaboration. Be open to flexibility when needed and be on target enough to keep the boundaries of your work together. Fortune favors the prepared leader!
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