Be focused and forward. Transform the way you communicate.
We’ve defined culture and talked about how intentional internal communication can help employees engage with your mission. We’ve covered how connecting personally (Be Known), having purposeful meetings (Be Intentional), and sticking with changes (Be Consistent) can transform your company. Let’s finish up with being both forward and focused.
One of the dysfunctions from Patrick Lencioni’s book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is fear of conflict. Ignoring problems does a disservice to both ourselves and our team members. We can’t fix what we can’t talk about! But we all know that addressing our differences is almost always awkward, if not painful.
At Fervor, we’ve found Acumen’s FETCH (Frustration Elimination Through Confrontation that’s Healthy) model really helpful. We use their eight-step cheat sheet to guide our hard conversations. It helps us talk about conflict directly, fairly, and without going off on unhelpful tangents. Here’s what it looks like:
- Let them know I am “for” them. Start by making sure your conversation partner knows you are on the same side.
- State the problem. As you understand it; they’ll get a chance to share their view in a minute.
- Own my part. Take the lead in taking responsibility.
- Hear their side. How did they understand the problem? How are your experiences different?
- Request specifically what I want. What do you need to happen to resolve this conflict?
- Give consequences, if needed. As appropriate. Lateral conversations or FETCH-ing “up the chain” might skip this step, or you could collaboratively discuss the consequences to the organization if the conflict remains unresolved.
- Reiterate that I am “for” them. End the conversation by again affirming you are on the same side.
- Check back in with them within 24 hours.
Undone issues will undo a team. It’s much better to get them out in the open, as hard as it can be to have a direct conversation. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be open.
Internal Communication Exercise 4:
- Recruit a partner for a fake FETCH conversation.
- Brainstorm a conflict scenario common in your organization.
- Practice having a FETCH conversation following the eight steps.
- Trade roles and repeat!
Finally, let’s talk about why you’re doing all this internal communication in the first place. Why does your organization exist? What’s your big purpose? What are your long-term goals? What are the short-term goals you’re going after right now? Does everybody on your team know what you’re working toward and why?
Focus is crucial for employee engagement. Teams should know what their shared goals are and how the work they are doing today will lead to reaching that goal tomorrow. How can you celebrate if you don’t have a shared definition of success? There’s nothing more demoralizing than working without a purpose.
Healthy organizations’ employees know why they are working and the steps they are taking to reach their goals. When they hit milestones, they party! It’s human to want to be part of something bigger than ourselves. And it’s also human to want to celebrate when that “something bigger” gets a win.
Internal Communication Exercise 5:
- Choose a team or committee that needs some focus, then brainstorm answers to the following questions:
- What does success look like for this team?
- How are your organization’s values or principles tied to this team’s goals?
- How will you celebrate wins? Individually? With the team?
Need some help focusing? Don’t we all. Let’s set up a video chat to talk about how we can help your organization get intentional about internal communication.