Containing Your Audiences
At the heart of every business book, management consultant strategy and radical company success story is the need to communicate effectively. Communication fosters engagement, which in turn fosters success. As simple as it sounds, it unfortunately is one of the most difficult skills to master across the diversity of your audiences, be they employees, partners, or customers.
Communication done correctly will uncover opportunity, inspire action and foster engagement. Done incorrectly it will alienate, demotivate and even incite active rebellion.
So, every company fundamentally has three audiences, each with their specific values and opinions. A deep understanding of these audiences will be incredibly beneficial in order to achieve the holy grail of engagement.
- Employees: This group works FOR you. You hired them because they have a specific expertise and/or experience, but are you engaging them to their full potential? Everyone has an opinion on pretty much everything, especially in the web-accessible, social-driven world of today.An observation on human nature is that people tend to be more engaged when they feel an idea is theirs or at least something to which they contributed. Your employees can be a great source of knowledge if you if you can contain the conversation (direction) but not limit the boundaries (scope). Allow everyone an equal voice and you may find your most innovative ideas come from the most unlikely of places.
- Partners: This group works WITH you. They bring in a different perspective, which can be very helpful because they are not directly accountable to your objectives without some perception of mutual benefit. They can give you valuable information because they are a more neutral party. This can include getting data you might not be able to get yourself.Leverage your partner base communication strategy successfully and you will uncover market trends, block competitors, and cement scalable growth without commensurate expense.
- Customers: This last group is a bit different: YOU ACTUALLY WORK FOR THEM ultimately. Their input is the most valuable and also the hardest to get. Other than the fact that they’ve bought your goods or services at some point, they are first and foremost loyal to themselves and their own organization. Lose the pulse of your customers expectations and you will ultimately lose your customers as well as your profitability.Many companies are afraid to ask their customers the hard questions for fear of negative responses. This is a huge mistake! No subject should be taboo, and any opportunity for engagement should be maximized
We have talked before on engaging your team
to their full potential and how to do so. In this vane, open your channels of communication to contain employees, partners and customers. In fact, mixing and matching audiences will create even higher levels of engagement and success.
Think: product management and customers on new feature development and roadmap priorities. Think: partners and customers for new levels of service improvements and loyalty-inspiring offerings. Think: sales and partners for new go-to-market strategies or promotions.
Ultimately, people (employees, partners, customers) will do things for their own reasons, so fostering the belief (or reality) that their input was valued enough to be received, voted on, expanded and acted upon will be a cornerstone to your success.