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Posted by Don Crow on May 31, 2012 4:00:43 AM

As promised during last week’s post on “T is for Talk”, this week’s TIPS is, “I is for INFORM.”

We’re in an unprecedented age of information. It only fuels our desire for more. More info, more intel, more photos, more sharing, more, more, more.

Your employees feel the same way about your organization.

Here at Verge Pipe Media, we encourage our employees to generate a lot of that info which in turn, fuels your desire for more insight into the day-to-day and overall life at VPM. Whether it is an Instagr.am #SmBizWeek campaign, a blog series on apps which appeal to the Millenials, or a longer running campaign which highlights VPM’s expertise in social media marketing to Millenials or Power Moms – our employees are experts at generating Information.

That doesn’t always mean our leadership team is just as thorough generating info on VPM back to them.

We do have an All Hands Meeting scheduled for 3 times per year, and working out of one open office helps, but there’s still the desire and need for information about VPM and how it relates to that employee.

How much do you share? What do you share? What constitutes ‘need to know’ and ‘nice to know’ info in an organization?

This intersection is where the “I is for INFORM,” comes into play.

As a leader, you have to think like the employee. Each individual has a separate motivation for being where they are. Their life outside of the office impacts their performance more than they’d like to admit.

You leader, have to keep the employee informed of what’s going on in the organization, but more importantly, the unit or division which they spend so much of their days and nights working towards.

How?

As mentioned above, the first step is to think like the employee.

  • There are two parts – the first is anticipating the questions you know that employee has. The entry level employee very likely has more basic information needs (not less important!) than the Director and so on.
  • The second part is by being active in last week’s TIPS, talking with the employees one-on-one and listening to their questions and motivations. Once you know the questions, you can turn the answer into yet another empowering, motivating time to Talk and Inform. The two work hand in hand. The two feed one another, giving the leader a constant feedback cycle.

The second step is to inform that employee’s immediate supervisor (if that isn’t you), of the summary of the discussion. Remember, nothing shuts down effective communication like the perception of negative consequences for opening up. Have the immediate supervisor write down the questions. Talk about it with the supervisor in a non-threatening way. The other benefit is you are now demonstrating to the front line supervisors they are accountable for ensuring the proper flow of information from you, down through them and to their employees. You are reinforcing their own listening and communication skills and the responsibility for resolving information logjams at the lowest level and bubbling up group and team requests which are beyond their immediate knowledge or resources.

The supervisors will begin thinking like their reports when it comes to INFO and begin anticipating their questions and INFORMING them likewise.

What began with a Talk, is leading to Inform, which in turn is creating a nice feedback and communication loop throughout your organization.

Notice how little of this is done via email, text messaging or other digital means?

Next week, we’ll look into “P is for (be) PREDICTABLE,” but before then, I hope you’ll look at T is for Talk and I is for INFORM as a great way to jumpstart the more effective flow of communication and feedback and to some degree, professional development of yourself and junior leaders in the process.

You’ll need it Leader, because beginning next week, our TIPS focus on what you as a leader have to manage on your own.

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