The Corporate Executive Board, an outfit that does considerable research and analysis on business strategy, recently identified the six main enemies of post-recovery performance and the top two had major communication implications.
The first is sharply lower sales and marketing productivity due to changed customer needs. Many companies are thinking about the ongoing relevance of their value propositions and weighing changes to how they position themselves in the marketplace – but are they working as hard to understand that fast-moving target: the evolving needs and wants of their customers? Powerful communications, the kind that have a real impact on performance, are always two-way and the most successful marketing efforts in this environment are going to be listening-intensive.
The second enemy is productivity losses due to top talent disengagement and flight, estimated by CEB at seven percent on average. With a general lack of stability, pressure on salaries and incentive compensation and the difficulty many organizations have painting a clear picture of the future, leaders face a difficult challenge managing relationships with their most valuable employees. When we lack clear, concrete understanding and expectations, human nature demands information, insight and context. And we want to get close enough to our leaders to read how they feel about things. This is a critical time for leaders to be visible and to share updates and insights more frequently.
Think about these issues from your own perspective. Have your needs and wants as a customer changed and do you feel like your “suppliers” are working hard to understand the changes? Do you feel like you’re getting enough insight at work? Communication isn’t going to pull companies out of the recession, but as customers reassess buying habits and the high-talent job market loosens up, it will help determine who wins the competition for both.