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How to use communication to manage turbulent times » Capital News


By Dr. Caroline Kiarie, Assistant Professor, Aga Khan University Graduate School of Media and Communications

During and even after the pandemic, many organizations underwent and
are undergoing major restructuring. In such situations, without strategic
communication, employees across various departments may feel disconnected and
uncertain about the future. 

However, by implementing a carefully crafted communication strategy
that emphasizes transparency, empathy, and clarity, leaders can reduce anxieties,
align diverse teams, and inspire confidence in the organization’s future.

This
strategic approach not only mitigates resistance to change but also cultivates a
sense of unity and purpose among employees as there is a strong employee voice,
fostering a more resilient and adaptive organizational culture.

Strategic communication is a deliberate and thoughtful approach that goes beyond
the mere exchange of information, and instead fosters understanding, alignment,
and progress within an organization.

As we navigate the new era defined by
prosumers, rapid change and unprecedented connectivity, the need for strategic
communication in the workplace is paramount. How then, given the ever-changing
landscape, can strategic communication be leveraged to improve the workplace.

To foster growth towards shared goals in a workplace where teams are increasingly diverse, dispersed, and digitally connected, the risk of misalignment, misunderstanding, miscommunication, and misinformation can affect the bottom line of the organization.

According to Grammarly’s State of Business Communications Report published in 2023, leaders reported a 15 per cent decline in productivity due to poor communication at work while knowledge workers reported a 7 per cent increase in stress due to poor communication at work. Without a strategic approach to communication, miscommunication happens, information becomes fragmented, and collaboration communication at work.

Without a strategic approach to communication, miscommunication happens, information becomes fragmented, and collaboration fails. However, when communication is strategically coordinated, it becomes the conduit through which shared goals are articulated, visions are clarified, and collective efforts are achieved.

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Strategic communication professionals offer specialized expertise that ensures that relevant, credible, and impactful communication is happening in society.

In this way, they build and sustain relationships in organizations both internally and externally promoting growth towards a common goal. This often translates to a positive reputation and business image which leads to increased business value.

To bridge the gap between leaders and their employees

Strategic communication helps guide leaders and their ideas to connect with their employees and communicate effectively. It involves a rigorous process that is fundamental to the growth of a business since there is a deep understanding of challenges and opportunities. This becomes important in crafting approaches that shape the perceptions and relationships of an organization.

For instance, during and even after the pandemic, many organizations underwent and are undergoing major restructuring. In such situations, without strategic communication, employees across various departments may feel disconnected and uncertain about the future.

However, by implementing a carefully crafted communication strategy that emphasizes transparency, empathy, and clarity, leaders can reduce anxieties, align diverse teams, and inspire confidence in the organization’s future. This strategic approach not only mitigates resistance to change but also cultivates a sense of unity and purpose among employees as there is a strong employee voice, fostering a more resilient and adaptive organizational culture.

To guide leaders and key decision-makers Strategic communication serves as an anchor for effective leadership and decision-making. As we are now in an increasingly dynamic and hyper-connected world, leaders

are overwhelmed with information, opinions, and perspectives adding artificial intelligence to the mix. Without strategic thinking, information overload can blind their decision-making and hurt the organization’s objectives.

Leaders therefore need to embrace strategic communication principles where crafting and asking questions is a tool, effective listening and strategic communication are key, and the value of feedback is a gift. The principles help in getting a holistic picture that contributes to the adaptation, adjustment, and transformation of organizational decisive actions.

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In the absence of strategic communication, leaders may struggle to convey the rationale behind their goals, leading to confusion among employees, investors, and other stakeholders.

However, by leveraging strategic communication techniques such as storytelling, framing, and tailored messaging for their stakeholders, leaders can articulate a compelling narrative that mitigates the challenges, provides opportunities, and contributes to the organization’s success. 

All this underscores the importance of strategic communication in the modern workplace. In a world defined by complexity, uncertainty, and rapid change, effective communication is no longer a luxury but a strategic necessity.

By embracing strategic communication principles, organizations can navigate complex ecosystems by recognizing communication is a powerful tool for connecting, building, and enhancing relationships, driving change, and shaping the future modern workplace.

Dr. Caroline Kiarie, Assistant Professor, Aga Khan University Graduate School of Media and Communications

Any opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

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