This is a message CEOs need to hear over and over again…
There are two keys to translating executive communication into action:
- Strategic intent
Many executives are perplexed when their message doesn’t translate into action. They are frustrated with the lack of “retention” that exists up and down their organization. Most executives feel like they have communicated the same message over and over again … and it still does not translate into the desired action or outcomes.
Many times, this is because they are communicating the … exact same message … over and over again. Their messaging strategy is one-dimensional. It is not aligned with the learning and adoption curve that is required to translate words into action.
For your message to convert into desired actions, you must communicate in phases. You need to deliver the message with the strategic intent of moving your audience from:
- Context: What is this about and why is it important?
- Understanding: What does it mean for the company, our customers, etc.?
- Internalization: How does this impact me and why should I care?
- Application: How do I apply this in a meaningful and relevant way in my job?
- Operationalization: How does this change the way my team operates moving forward?
This process takes time and requires an intentional communications strategy. So, let’s be clear … you can’t move your audience through the learning and adoption curve in one long message.
Most executives underestimate the sustained communication effort required to translate a message into consistent action.
Some believe the “Rule of 7” applies. You have to deliver a message seven times before the desired behavior is activated. However, Microsoft recently conducted a study designed to measure the optimal number of exposures required for audio messages to stick. The study showed that messages must be communicated between six and 20 times to achieve the desired result.
Many factors come into play with respect to communication repetition and frequency. The complexity of the message; the hierarchy of your organization; the number of unique audience segments you must reach; the measurable results that are actually being attained, etc.
So, the next time you plan to activate strategic initiatives, introduce organizational change, or shift the mindset of employees across your organization — ask yourself …
- Where is my organization on the learning and adoption curve?
- What is my strategic intent with this particular message?
- What repetition and frequency are required?
- What does my sustained communications plan include?
The key to success is anchoring your communications plan in strategic intent and persistence.
Only then will your words (messages) translate into the actions and outcomes you want to see in the business.