The character of communication: a new study reveals how leaders use communication and change management to build sustainable performance.

Author:Yates, Kathryn

Whether it's about the business or the employee experience, there needs to be a sense of direction and steps to follow.

In a challenging and dynamic business world, success depends on establishing a dear path to navigate through complexity. Organizations and their leaders wherever they are and whatever business environment they face--must be able to chart the right course and deliver results.

We know intuitively--and research confirms--that effective leaders can create true competitive advantage. Leadership is the top global driver of employee engagement, according to the Towers Watson 2010 Global Workforce Study. High employee engagement, in turn, translates to better financial performance: In Towers Watson's Global Normative Database, companies with high employee engagement generate operating margins nearly 1.5 times higher than companies with low engagement.


Specific directions vary according to each company's strategic imperatives, but regardless of focus, the best leaders create a clear path forward for their people. Towers Watsoffs 20112012 Change and Communication ROI Study sheds new light on how leaders are using change and communication

processes to demonstrate these leadership characteristics.

How do you do it?

According to Towers Watson's Global Normative Database, highly engaged employees at high-performance companies rate leaders as having these characteristics:

* Principled--driving the company from a shared set of guiding principles by clarifying values, operating with integrity in everything they do and showing an unrelenting commitment to the customer.

* Agile--managing the challenges of ongoing change effectively; and supporting the organization to evolve in new and innovative ways.

* Trustworthy--stressing fairness in decision making and empowering people in their roles.

Leaders who are seen as demonstrating these characteristics use communication and change practice to produce:

* Clarity--conveying the direction of the business along with ways they can contribute to the enterprise.

* Confidence--following a disciplined process for changing and communicating to create greater certainty, confidence and engagement among employees.

* Community--building a sense that employees and leaders are in it together and share both the challenges and rewards of working.

The Change and Communication ROI Study demonstrates that effective change and communication practices also help the bottom line. Organizations that are highly effective at both communication and change management are more than twice as likely to outperform those that are not effective at either. This holds true in any industry, region or economy.

Creating a clear direction requires conveying a consistent story about the business; creating greater certainty, confidence and engagement among employees; and building a shared experience across diverse audiences.

Creating clarity

Leaders at highly effective organizations demonstrate their integrity by being clear about the future with their employees, even when markets or strategies are in flux. Whether it's about the business or the employee experience, there needs to be a sense of direction and steps to follow. With help...

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