This blog is inspired by hearing the same sentiment echoed twice in the last couple of weeks.
First, by David Grove of Grove Industries at a speaker lunch organised by Birmingham Future. Mr Grove was making the point that sometimes the best companies in which to invest, buy or work with are those with a disengaged and disinterested management.

He argues that it is by changing thinking and introducing change you can improve efficiency, effectiveness and engagement.

The second time I came across this sentiment was at day one of my CIM Diploma course at Coventry University Business School.

A number of students in my group work in the marketing departments of universities. One mentioned that every year they send out postcards to advertise their courses. When she asked what their objective was, the big picture strategy, and whether it actually worked, she was told – “we’ve always done it this way.”

So, a large expenditure on print and postage costs and yet no one is actually evaluating whether it is achieving the objective of getting more people to sign up for the courses.

From our perspective, one of the first things we do when working with a client is to carry out a communications audit. What are you already doing? What are you hoping to achieve by doing it? Is it working? How are you measuring that it‘s working? This works internally as well as externally.

More often than not, we come across things that are being done that way because they have always been done that way. There is no point in targeting The Birmingham Post if your customers don’t read it. Likewise, there is no point using social media tools like Twitter and FaceBook if your target audience doesn’t have access to the internet or those sites are blocked at work.

It is very easy to tell people what you want them to hear. A lot harder to really communicate. You need to think strategically about who you are trying to reach and what conversation you want to have with them. What belief or behaviour are you trying to change and how are you going to measure that change? How are you going to engage in a two-way conversation and what’s in it for the people on the other side?
So, just because you’ve always done it that way, and just because you’ve always got the same result, doesn’t mean you can’t look at changing it to make it better. A few tweaks to your communications strategy – internally and externally – could see you integrating your communications in order to get your team facing in the same direction. And, don’t forget, you need to be able to measure what you’ve achieved at the end of it.