July 17, 2007

Very simple!

Make a two-page long office circular glorifying the idea…

Then send it to everyone either through email or hard copy…

Sit back and relax expecting people to follow each and every word of the circular as heavenly wisdom.

Well, it may sound funny (or may be not) but I know this is one reason why many great organizational ideas fail as soon as they start their execution phase. The missing link is COMMUNICATION TO KEEP AN IDEA FRESH IN THE MIND OF PEOPLE so that they keep thinking about it.

A worthy example worth sharing. Once upon a time (not in ancient time but just a year back) CEO of a company had a brilliant flash of idea one day to bring in more energy into his people and increase the productivity of the organization. So he invented a grand concept based on the concept of hemoglobin, transporter of oxygen to our body cells. He called his concept "xyz-globin" where xyz were the initials of the company name. He even detailed what it signified and how to bring it into action. He urged everyone to increase their "xyz-globin" so that it reflects in the work. And he dashed the 2-page circular to only his top team asking them to follow it and spread it down the order. The Holy Grail coming from a CEO doesn't go unread. So it was read in all due respect. A few smiles also followed. And in a matter of few hours it got buried in the piles of paper. One year has passed and the concept, which I must admit was nothing less than brilliant, has long been buried far away from public psyche. As a memento it finds an honourable mention in some manuals that are seldom read or used. Peace!

Why this brilliant idea capable of challenging people to push their limits and deliver their best failed in its mission? Because it was not communicated effectively by the leader to the extent that it set the fire in his peoples' belly.

Had I been in this CEO's shoes, I would have used a completely different technique to drive home the point. Instead of sending them circular, I would have gathered them informally in some corner and explained the concept of "xyz-globin" through a story that was fun and engaging. And then I would have followed it up by everyday randomly asking various people about their "xyz-globin" level. I would have gone to the extent of looking into the eyes of an upbeat and cheerful looking manager and enthusiastically saying, "Man, seems like you are high on 'xyz-globin' today." Or, going to a manager who looked downcast or sleepy and tell him, "Buddy, guess your 'xyz-globin' level is drastically down today. Perk yourself up man." And if the CEO does all these, can his men be far behind. Within a few months this would have caught a wild fire where people would have been asking one another about level of "xyz-globin" resulting in fun-filled energized and engaged workplace that delivered best quality of work.

Well, that can wait till I become the CEO. Amen!

Now coming to the role of communication in execution of an idea or plan, there is only one rule I know that works. EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION IS THE BRIDGE THAT LINKS GREAT IDEAS TO GREAT EXECUTION. It is naïve to think that if you give a road map to people they will just follow it as it is. They will not unless you ensure that it climbs to the same level of priority as it is on your priority ranking. People have hundred things on their mind; the thing that attracts them the most will occupy their attention and energy. Here, communication plays the vital part in ensuring that people get attracted to what you expect them to do and they remain attracted to it till the job is done. A seasoned manager once summed it nicely, "Logon ko hilana dulana padta hai" (people need to be shaken and stirred to action)


  1. jvs // July 20, 2007 at 4:17 AM  

    Hi Mayank

    I agree with the argument of hilana and dhulana. Communication with roadmap is first step to implement the change. A CEO can implement this if and only if he outlines his vision , benefits to employee and company and ensure employees digest the roadmap.

    Key missing link here is able team who can convert this strategy/vision of CEO into execution. Many fail in execution.

    Finally, execution succeeds only if visibility is there within company. Then regular communication by CEO and execution team in various forums create enough visibility amongst the employees. The more visible the strategy, more people would like to be part of it.

  2. Rajesh Kumar // August 1, 2007 at 4:40 PM  

    Have you read 'Execution...' by Ram Charan & Larry Bossidy? You would relate to the context very well.
    And of course, wish you CEO position very soon!