football coach
Credit: Keith Johnston/Pixabay

It’s the start of a new decade, and you have big plans. You’ve agonized over them for months and are ready to pull the trigger—but is everyone aware and on-board?

In his monthly column for BCBusiness, Richmond-based employee engagement and internal brand communications expert Ben Baker shares his insights into how to communicate value effectively so people want to listen and engage. In the end, it’s about creating influence through trust.

January 2020 is an exciting time for many businesses. The dawn of a new decade brings new hope and impetus to reach for new levels of success. So far, I’ve heard rallying cries of “$20 million in 2020” and “This is the decade we 10x our previous growth.” Those are fine goals, aspirational and motivating, but without a clear view in the minds of everyone involved, how are they attainable?

When most businesses make plans like this, sales and marketing jump on the bandwagon and urge their troops to communicate with the customer. It’s an obvious choice: the money will eventually come from clients’ pockets. But if the customer is the only one communicated with, failure is still an option.

Hopefully, your aspirations come from a solid plan. You state a goal, consider its current status and develop a plan to connect the dots.

The question is, why is this plan not shared early and continuously updated, its modifications shared again with the people who can ensure the venture’s success or failure? Those people are employees and the vendors who support the business.

Effective communication means knowing where you are, where you want to go, what challenges you see along the way, who needs to do what at what stage and why it’s critical to success.

You don’t have to look further than a football game to understand the importance of constant effective communication to help achieve success. After every down, teams huddle, communicate, pivot, realign and move forward. Coaches watch from the sidelines, telling players what they see and how changes could help them succeed. If the teams don’t communicate, adjust and move ahead, they’ll end up on their own goal line, watching their opponents score.

So how does this apply to business?

No single leader—the CEO or coach—is responsible for an organization’s success or failure. Yes, they develop the plan and help execute it, but their deputies in the field must see what the CEO can’t and call for adjustments in real time. They bring those they lead along with them, enabling teammates to understand not only the current reality but where the company is headed and how their individual achievements matter.

Meanwhile, people within the organization must communicate effectively with vendors so everyone’s goals are aligned. Vendors need to understand budgets, timelines, priorities, direction and how their success or failure in execution will impact overall success. Talk to them like they’re part of the team, because they are.

If vendors don’t understand what success means to an individual company, how can they support it? How can they the deliver the right products and services, at the right time and in the right way, so their customers can succeed?

It takes a team, and it takes effective communication.

What are you doing to ensure the success of your goals for 2020 and beyond? What are you doing to ensure that everyone understands the mission, and what needs to happen and why so that they can help achieve those goals?

Do you have a solid plan in place?

Do you have the policies, procedures and people to ensure success?

Do your people believe in your goals, and do they feel like valued members of the organization?

Before you send your sales and marketing people to communicate your goals to clients, make sure everyone in-house knows the plan and how to execute it flawlessly.

Without those people and plans in place, all you have is an aspiration.

Ben Baker wants to help you engage, retain, and grow your most valuable asset…your employees. He provides workshops and consulting to enable staff to understand, codify and communicate their value effectively internally and externally and Retain Employees Through Leadership. The author of Powerful Personal Brands: A Hands-On Guide to Understanding Yours and the host of the iHeart Radio syndicated show, he writes extensively on brand and communication strategy. Try his new free online course, Know – Like – Trust: How to Develop Your Personal Brand.