Does your company or nonprofit communicate effectively with your important audiences?  If yours is like many enterprises that I encounter, the answer might be that you don’t because you don’t have a good communications team. That is a lame explanation for a failure in leadership communications.

To be sure, a strong, experienced communications team is invaluable to an organization. A communications department should facilitate and manage the many conversations that go on every day between your enterprise and your publics.    But they can’t do it alone.

Without support from the highest levels of the enterprise, the communications efforts will fall short–and that translates into lost revenue, untapped clients, fewer donors and supporters and, in the end, a less effective enterprise.

Companies and nonprofits that are communications oriented do the following:

  • invest the time in developing clear messages;
  • view communications as an integral management function, placing  a high priority on messaging and delivering those messages clearly and consistently; and
  • are disciplined.

From the person who answers the phone to the security guard in the lobby to the executives in the C-suite to the program managers and product managers, everyone in your enterprise sends powerful messages every day.

My whole view of Verizon, for example, has been shaped not by the ads or brochures they’ve sent me but by the people I’ve dealt with in their stores or on the phone.   And in my case, because those experiences have been so bad, so is my view of the company.  Likewise, I’ve had excellent experiences with and shop there regularly.

To be sure having an effective communications team makes a big difference. Like a symphony conductor, the communications team should develop and direct communications programs and strategies. But support and buy-in from the top are essential. Without it, the enterprise will be out of tune.