I have been thinking about the difficulties of communicating and the problem of matching relationships to expectations. In this world of mass communication, at least on a personal level, communications in an organization seems more difficult than ever, particularly for a small organization.
Take ours, for example. We have around 30 employees. Some are full time, some part time, some are paid and some are volunteers. So technically the volunteers aren't employees. But they still need to know what's going on.
We have a web page, Facebook page, and a general email address along with an email list of people associated with the school. And we have a telephone tree. Unfortunately, except for the headmaster, no one person is responsible for all these communications methods. As a result, sometimes important information slips through a crack.
For a hypothetical example, a teacher's spouse gets a new job out of state and the teacher quits with little notice. A scramble ensues to find a replacement but the details of the teacher's leaving get lost in the shuffle.
At this point the rumor mill takes over, which is a poor substitute for accurate and beneficial communication. Rumors may be basically accurate, but the devil is in the details. Does this sound familiar?
I've got some ideas on how to make things better. First, of course, is to have one person in charge of the process. And make sure everyone else knows that person is in charge of it. Unfortunately, that's easier said than done. Each organization is unique, so each would develop a unique approach to this effort. At this point, the expectation should be for every significant event or scheduled activity to be posted and communicated. Failure at this means someone who needs to know something, doesn't.
Changing the focus a bit but still on subject: it amazes me to find a business web page that is months out of date; for example a restaurant that lists events last Christmas or a store with sale items that have expired. It screams lack of care. Perhaps the company is about to go under or feels it doesn't get value out of the site. Either way the lack of attention paints a poor picture and causes one to think that maybe they won't give my business the proper attention.
But now I've digressed. I hope I've opened some doors and tweaked your curiosity to look into the communications within your organization. People want to know what's going on. The success of texting, Facebook and Twitter proves that. They will find out with or without you. Doing it with you means communications stand a better chance of success and meeting your expectations.
Gene Canavan is a retired West Point Graduate and Paper Mill Utilities Manager and lives in Prattville, Alabama, USA.