Get your organization playing off the same song sheet

Everyone seems to agree on one thing. We could all use some improved communications in the workplace. Yet everyone seems to be communicating all the time. So what is the problem?

Well, maybe that is exactly the problem. Think orchestra, only first consider their warm-up.  Each performer is doing their own thing to ensure their performance will be perfect in every way. But it sounds entirely different when the conductor raises their baton, and each performer plays off the same song sheet.

Maybe that is the missing link. Maybe organizations don’t have a common song sheet for their entire organization.  The song sheet we have been using with clients to bring their orchestra together is a Communications Framework.

Here’s how it works. A Communications Framework provides a structured approach so that everyone can share the right information at the right time. And because it is structured (and documented), people can develop the right communication habits enabling them to consistently meet their organization’s communication needs.

Just think of the letter V – it starts at the top, dips down to the bottom, and then comes back up.  A Communications Framework works through the chain of command in the same V shape.  Strategic planning requirements are defined at the Executive level and they are then translated down through the chain of command.  And in return, operational performance results based on those plans are reported back up again.  Everyone along the way is providing the right people the right information at the right time.

The problem with communication is not that we aren’t doing it enough, it’s more related to the fact that we are not communicating in a concerted manner.  Real improvements are achieved when everyone in an organization is playing off the same song sheet. Only then can they be truly aligned in their communication efforts.


Kathy Roy has implemented business transformation and change management projects in complex organizations for over two decades. She has worked with major companies, both public and private, and with numerous business sectors in both Canada and the United States. She is part of Systemscope's Strategic Business Consulting practice.


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