Lack of trust is undoubtedly a major barrier to business success. It undermines the critical relationships that enable sustained performance and exposes the business and its leadership to painful ongoing scrutiny, cynicism and challenge. Communication plays an essential role in rebuilding trust – but corporations no longer control the flow of news and opinion. In today’s business world, organizations find it hard to keep pace with multiple media delivering multiple messages, 24/7, and an ever-increasing range and number of stakeholders who want to have their say.
With so much ‘noise’ and communications activity, many CEOs and senior leaders can struggle to get their messages across effectively or, at times, to hear what their stakeholders – whether customers, employees, suppliers, the media or other interested parties – might be telling them.
If senior leaders fail to establish an effective dialogue with their diverse stakeholders, they risk appearing introspective and out of touch. Worse, failing to engage with them effectively may damage their organization, its reputation and/or its finances.
As the stakeholder landscape becomes more complex and organizational boundaries are extended. How can leaders communicate and engage with such diverse and frequently remote groups?
There is a solution: intimacy. The word might sound strange, but if the digital world of emails, text messaging and mobile communications creates distance in our communications, intimacy in leadership brings people closer together, enabling more effective communication.
Intimate leaders have authentic conversations. They use a lower tech approach to participate and engage in dialogue, express their own views and listen to the opinions of others. They are prepared to be challenged while pursuing deeper understanding and meaning. They are accessible and connected. And for all those reasons, they are best equipped to gain trust and lead their organizations through profound change.
Change Management Consultant
PA Consulting Group