Building Your Organization's Interactive Culture Synopsis: Why and how you must cultivate meaningful and valuable internal communication

One of the most daunting challenges faced by all businesses and organizations is fostering and maintaining clear communication across all departments and personnel. When substantial growth is occurring within the given entity, a lack of clear communication can become an even greater concern, allowing for failed projects, lost customers or benefactors, and a high turnover rate among frustrated employees.

Companies experiment with a variety of approaches to solving this problem, although in some cases they may fail to properly attempt an execution of any solution at all until considerable damage has been done. Departments and teams tend to track KPI's without having a proper means of sharing the results outside of their own territory in a way that produces worthwhile, actionable items for the good of the entire organization. Executives tend to lack an effective pipeline of information from the trenches in which the mid and entry level employees work on a day-to-day basis. Directives are often handed down and carried out without a collective understanding of the reasoning and research driving those objectives (if said research has even been properly conducted).

What I propose as a potential solution is a hybrid of business process and balanced scorecard that I've coined the Interactive Culture Synopsis. The focus of the synopsis should be less oriented toward percentages or scores and more toward the moment to moment story of the company as told from all corners. 

The Interactive Culture Synopsis should be customized to fit the needs and values of your organization, and it should provide a high level culture update as well as a look at specific concerns within the organization that may need to be addressed before they fester into larger problems.

Here is an overview of the process:

  1. The synopsis should always include a specific example of the company culture in action and/or the company's value to society at large.
  2. The synopsis would also entail a cross-departmental glance at some key performance metrics expressed clearly in a paragraph or two.
  3. After the synopsis is released to the company on a monthly basis, it should be followed with a timed, company wide chatroom Q & A session with the executive team or available members of it. You might call this process a Culture Rally, and leadership should also maintain a more anonymous means for team members to submit questions and suggestions.

Here is an overview of the purpose:

  1. Promote internal, cross-departmental communication
  2. Glean valuable knowledge for decision makers
  3. Translate newly learned internal knowledge into value for customers or benefactors

I will also offer an example of a form that the Interactive Culture Synopsis might take.

Company A

Department 1
Our department has communicated effectively with the Marketing department this month for purposes of assembling a new white paper relating to our top selling product. Leaders from our department need to meet with all other department leads to discuss.

The word from the trenches is that our efficiency with reporting our monthly numbers is being hindered by a poor choice of software that needs to be re-evaluated.

Department 2
We made good progress this month addressing an issue with client satisfaction. Details can be referenced at the following link. We contributed to the social mission of the company by hosting an off-site event that resulted in major contributions to the local food bank with which we are partnered.

The above would be followed by a brief cross-departmental summary of KPI's with a constructive note from the executive team.

The following month's culture synopsis would close the proverbial loop on the concerns raised in the prior month's synopsis, as well as any concerns raised in the wake of the prior synopsis via the chatroom question and answer session or via anonymous means. This would be done by simply reporting measurable, positive progress related to concerns and by applauding initiatives and behavior that clearly promoted effective communication and exemplified essential values of the organization's culture.

In this fashion, the Interactive Culture Synopsis could function as an ongoing company initiative to foster improved communication throughout the business, as well as a constant reminder of the core values at the heart of the culture. 

Whether your company delivers projects and products via a waterfall methodology or an agile paradigm, internal communication is crucial not only to the timely completion of said projects but to aligning your products and services with accurate definitions of ongoing customer needs. Effective internal, cross-departmental communication is crucial for defining business processes that support employee satisfaction and productivity along with customer happiness. Crafting your own version of an interactive culture synopsis can aid greatly in facilitating such essential internal discussion and understanding.

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