How to Connect Your Team With Strong Communication
“A hallmark of a healthy creative culture is that its people feel free to share ideas, opinions, and criticisms.” - Ed Catmull, president, Pixar
Company culture thrives on communication.
If the business relationships within your team are strong, communication should flow naturally. But according to the successful entrepreneurs of YEC, there are some best practices to make sure everyone stays on the same page.
Here’s what they recommend.
Establish clear expectations
“When you eliminate confusion and clarify your communication, you lay the groundwork for a supportive culture.” — YEC member Kailynn Bowling, founder, ChicExecs PR & Retail Strategy Firm
Your team can only produce if they understand what you need. Clear expectations are absolutely essential.
You have several options for communicating expectations; it’s likely that you’ll want to use more than one technique. Project management software (like Trello, Asana, Basecamp, or Jira) can be an invaluable tool for communicating objectives, requirements, and deadlines. Kickoff meetings for projects provide a chance for everyone involved to share what they know and ask questions. Written guidelines (for overall operation) and briefs (for specific projects) are useful for team members to reference when guidance is needed.
Give your team what they need, and they’ll deliver what you need.
Create opportunities for feedback
“Establishing a strong feedback culture is one of the best investments you can make if you want to help your business thrive … Your team members will be happier and more productive, and they’ll step up and bring valuable ideas that can be used to grow your business. It’s a win for everyone involved.” — YEC member Ben Walker, founder and CEO, Transcription Outsourcing
Give your team a chance to offer feedback.
Be aware that all employees, from entry-level to executive team, have different perspectives and can offer valuable insight as you develop your company. Establish an open-door policy, letting your people know that you’re open to hearing their ideas, and maybe send out anonymous surveys to get more unbiased opinions. Of course, feedback should always be respectful, whether given to or coming from your employees.
Be open to changing your mind
“Your past ideas should never serve as blind spots that block your future.” — YEC member Jessica Vollman, CEO, Fluent City
It’s not enough just to ask for feedback; you’ve got to be open to changing your mind.
Be willing to acknowledge that someone else might have an idea even better than yours. If they’re working for or with you, and are willing to share that idea, accept that gift and roll with it.
Establish a culture committee
“Create a culture committee that is responsible for engaging in work culture dialogue, from pain points to workflow improvement to brainstorming ways to inspire company connectedness.”— YEC member Greg Mercer, founder and CEO, Jungle Scout
Don’t let company culture be an afterthought. A dedicated culture committee whose members can drive issue discussions and plan social events to engage your team is a great insurance policy against a languishing culture.
If your company is large, and you have an HR department, you might start recruiting committee members there. But to get a wider array of perspectives and find those whose talents best suit the needs of the group, consider everyone, and take volunteers. You might have a front-end programmer who excels at party planning, or an accountant with a keen perspective on social justice.
For a strong company culture, you need strong, clear communication within your team. According to the entrepreneurs of YEC, you can make this happen by establishing clear expectations, welcoming feedback, and being open to changing your mind when the situation calls for it. Also, you may find that creating a purpose-built “culture committee” ensures continued employee input and participation as your company and culture grow.
Want more ideas from successful entrepreneurs for developing company culture? Download “The Young Entrepreneur’s Ultimate Checklist: Building a Company Culture That Supports Your Vision” and start implementing 19 great ideas that have worked for YEC’ers.