I have a plan

I have absolutely no interest in golf. I don’t play and I can’t say I have ever been tempted to pick up a club. However, I was really fascinated by the aftermath of the Ryder Cup win for Europe at the weekend.

The most interesting element was the press conferences from both teams reflecting on their success or failure and what that might be attributed to. Why was should this be of interest to me and other communication professionals? Simple, it was the messages that came through the analysis of the events.

For any communication professionals who are struggling with developing internal communication activity and staff engagement, they will be looking to those successful teams for guidance about what works and why. It is easy to blame poor communication for change processes not being embedded and staff not being aware of what the organisation is seeking to achieve.

Two key issues the players highlighted that came through loud and clear were:

1. Have a clear plan

2. Demonstrate strong leadership

The first thing seems really simple but many companies and businesses have organisational plans that are either too complex or confusing. This lack of clarity will have a significant impact on communication and makes the work of teams extremely difficult. The European Ryder Cup team talked about having a clear plan that each of the members knew, understood and were bought into. On the other side there has been criticism of the American approach from within the team who felt there was no clear plan or how to approach the competition.

Secondly, clear leadership that understood the team and was able to reinforce the plan and the road ahead was highlighted. Any communication professional will understand how vital a strong and accessible CEO is. This isn’t a leader who sets a clear plan and doesn’t listen, it is a leader who is listening, responsive and understands the challenge for those on the frontline.

The role of the communication professional is to influence and negotiate and hopefully get to a point where the CEO feels supported and takes advice, and the plan is turned into something that makes sense. If we take these elements forward then perhaps we can also have winning teams.

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