I hear from CEOs all the time that a poor performing staffer, a failed product launch is because of bad communications.  Sometimes that is true.

But more often than not, that communications problem is a symptom of something else going on in the organization.

The great architect Louis Sullivan once said, “Form follows function.” And in business communications follows business strategy, product or program and culture.

And if there is something amiss in one of these areas, the place it shows up is in communication.

I believe using a communications lens can be extremely helpful in addressing larger organizational challenges because it’s a lot less threatening to frame it as a communications problem rather than a problem with the product or morale.

Think of your messaging and communications as strategic tools to strengthen business not just as beautiful words or a set of talking points. They can be a gateway to getting at what’s really going on.  If you say it, then you have to be it, and to be it you have to do it.

When you start to address a communications issue, be prepared to uncover other issues both positive or negative.  and be prepared to probe deeply at the workings of your enterprise as you seek to improve the way you communicate internally and externally.