Communication is arguably the most integral skill to leading well, and over-communicating remains one of the four disciplines to achieving organizational health. I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times executive leaders and their teams have expressed to me their intense frustration over people just not “getting it”. Wouldn’t it be great if you and your team could wave a magic wand, deliver a message just once, and be guaranteed it would land where needed? Unfortunately, communication just doesn’t work that way, and it’s not trending upward. Studies used to show that repeating a message seven times worked – people “got it”, retained it, took action on it. Now the studies show that due to intense information overload and the constant intake of new knowledge, data and massive amounts of communication, we have to hear something twenty-four times for it to really “stick”. Delivering a message twenty-four times doesn’t just happen – it requires a commitment! Over-communicating is no longer just a nice idea; it’s a necessity. Enter the CRO’s, Chief Reminding Officers, who make up the best leadership teams that are consistently willing to over-communicate to ensure clarity around their messaging. They’re so committed to clarity that they figure out strategies around repetition, simplicity, using multiple platforms and cascading the same message through the entire organization. To really nail this, leadership teams need endurance, strategy and the willingness to be CRO’s in roles and responsibilities. Part of what makes it so difficult is needing to silence the “adrenaline addiction” that rules so many leaders, teams and organizations. “Adrenaline addiction” pushes teams to move at unsustainable paces, get bored fast, switch attention, and go after what appears to be the next best thing. It’s the “flavor of the month” syndrome that often hijacks leaders before followers even have a chance to jump in. Instead of creating clarity, adrenaline addiction causes states of confusion, uncertainty about priorities and goals, and a crew of employees who are just trying to keep up. If your message matters, then stay the course and share it often.
It may also help to consider these strategies as you don your CRO caps and commit to over-communicating in the name of achieving the vision and key objectives of your organization.
Reject adrenaline addiction
Keep messaging simple and clear
Engage people through multiple platforms
Cascade your message all the way through the organization