Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mastering Technology III- The Large Scale Audience

I started this Mastering Technology thread with the statement "the global leader needs to use every means available to establish multiple pathways of interaction".  That's true whether you are dealing with individual email, group mailing lists or leadership team communications. It remains true when the leader needs to consider the large scale audience.  One really good practice is to create a matrix where the types of interactions are on one axis of the matrix and the technologies/channels to communicate are on the other axis.  You can then choose the technology or technique that best meets the intent of the message.
For large scale audiences beyond the individual and team, the technologies will be different than for smaller groups.  A checklist of things to consider includes:
1.  Intranet/Internet sites.  The content will be different for the internal and external audiences
but these sites remain important elements of a complete strategy.  There will be cases where an in-house organization won't have an external website.  It's also important to note that most companies have moved to a common "look and feel" and standard design parameters of both internal and external sites. The "everybody does their own thing" days are gone in most global organizations.
2.  Webcasts.  I found these to be very effective.  For one thing you can do them twice in one day. One covering Europe east to Asia and the other covering Europe west to the Americas.  You can communicate the same message to a global community of common interest on the same day without doing it at an inconvenient time for anyone.  I've also done these as part of the agenda of a face to face leadership team meeting where part of the meeting agenda is to engage as a leadership team with the broader community they represent. *
3.  Multi-point teleconference or video teleconference.  Like smaller team meetings these can be very effective.  If you need to use visual aids or slides teleconferences are difficult...even when you send slides in advance.  It's a little better with the video but showing slides can be tricky even then....takes a little practice to make it work smoothly.*
4. Monthly reflections.  In all my roles I tried to send a monthly "Reflections" email to my direct reports and everyone who reported to them.  I always started these with a business update, included status on ongoing projects, highlighted upcoming key dates for planning purposes and concluded with a personal reflection.  This worked for me and I got excellent feedback from staff on how well this kept the global team "on the same page".  That said, this is personality and style dependant.   I know several very effective global leaders who weren't particularly good at communicating this way, recognized it and found other means to communicate these messages.

My final reinforcing message is: the global leader needs to use every means available to establish multiple pathways of interaction. 

*  The design of these sessions and face to face sessions should minimize the 'tell' and maximize the interaction with the audience. Yes the audience want to hear from its leaders but they also want chances to ask questions and provide feedback....and it's got to be better than a 45' presentation and 15' Q&A.  A notional design of 15' presentation, followed by 15'  small group dialogue, followed by 15' small group feedback to the larger audience with an final 10' Q&A works better with the global audience. There are obviously many variations to the notional design just outlined.  The point is to minimize the tell component and maximize the engagement component of the session.

1 comment:

  1. I like the monthly reflections. It adds a personal tone to the more formal, yet necessary means of large scale electronic communications. You are right, it is personality driven, and does need to be used with people who already know and have met the writer personally, such as direct reports. Given that, it can create a more personal feel to doing business from long distances. I'd add only one last point...the phone call to the individual - one more way to connect personally.