1. Make communication part of the culture
Communication takes effort, so communicating well needs to be part of the company’s culture. This includes having All Hands meetings, executive team meetings and doing written status updates using a tool like Weekly Update.
2. Use different mediums
Some people communicate best with quick chats on Slack; others prefer speaking on the phone. I have found that to move quickly, teams (especially remote teams) must never fear just calling someone and talking through an issue quickly. It’s crucial that anything important gets documented in writing so it can’t get lost in the shuffle and forgotten.
3. Always follow up on meetings with written recaps
If the CEO communicates something important to the leadership team (e.g. quarterly goals, how variable compensation is calculated, product roadmap, etc) she must follow up with a written recap. Otherwise, people will inevitably misunderstand or misinterpret what was discussed. My rule of thumb is “if it’s not in writing, it didn’t happen.”
4. Give leaders tools to better communicate with their teams
The organization should have some basic guidelines for leaders to effectively communicate with their teams. This may include templates for monthly 1-1s, weekly staff meetings, and written status updates.
5. Hold up positive examples
When the team is effectively communicating cross functionally, they get better results. It is helpful for the team leader to identify these as case studies and highlight them for the rest of the team. For example, “because the head of marketing and head of customer success were in close alignment, the new customer-focused blog is a big success.”
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