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I'm looking to improve how I do outward and upward communication for my teams.

I manage infrastructure teams and we're building tools to make life better. When I do periodic reviews with leadership and product team leaders I find they are often surprised by what we're working on. I do posts. I send emails. It doesn't seem to be effective. When I ask our VP what I should do to improve this, his feedback is "do posts and emails"

Are there any podcasts on this topic?

SHP's picture

Infrastructure... like computer networks and IT tools to make the production teams' lives better?

My advice is to find enthusiastic end users who tangibly benefit from what you're doing.  And stop spamming people with announcements about every little thing you're doing.

From a production team manager's perspective, the info I do notice usually bubbles up from enthusiastic directs who say "hey boss, have you tried this awesome new gizmo that IT rolled out!?  It saves me so much time and makes us look good in front of our clients!"

But I get little useful info from my support team leadership.  They send announcement emails about upgrades, patching, server migrations, etc.  I don't get past the subject line anymore.  I don't need 4 paragraphs about a Windows security patch that will be applied at 3am Sunday morning.  It doesn't (or shouldn't) impact me and my company's core mission.

 

Jollymom's picture

very well said. thanks for sharing your story.

Simon Flowers's picture

I'm happy to pitch in here on how we achieved a turnaround in reputation.  The situation was exactly as you described - people saying they want emails and notifications but then not reading them and being aware. The key is the personal connection - people don't "get it" until they "see it".

I created a Global User Experience program to bring together these technical improvements with a strong theme and accompanying communication and change management. Key elements:

- Global User Experience vision and material so it became part of an ongoing story and strategy vs random emails

- Well designed communication program.  This included "Did You Know" posts on useful tips.

- Global User Experience champions : people who would join a monthly call, promote what was new in their team meetings, and in return became early adopters and could give input.  Plus the same for local IT representatives. Later this was expanded to Technology Champions.

- Global User Experience sponsors : VPs and above who would nominate champions, arrange a briefing for their managers, and be quarterly briefed.

- Event promotion: I made the first one being a User Experience booth at the company leadership conference and we created guides and scripts that others in IT then used for any events like country manager meetings or sales rep conferences.

- AskIT desks: created physical IT help desks like an Apple Genius bar in high traffic areas like the cafeteria entrance.

As you can see a lot of this is based on actually showing people stuff vs people reading stuff.

It is very important : when you talk to people on the reputation of IT their first impression is through their laptop, the second biggest factor the help desk experience, and then all the IT management and business partnering comes third.

Message me on "Send author a message" or connect on LinkedIn if you would like me to show you more.

Simon

G3's picture

It seems like I recall Mark Horstman saying that you need to communicate a message seven times before your folks will remember it hearing it once.

He refers to this Winston Churchill quote, " If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time - a tremendous whack."

I don't know the details of communication methods available to you. Generally speaking, you could say it verbally to people (in one on ones and or group meetings or even just around the water cooler), physically post it where people would see it, call people and tell them (formally or informally via voice chat, video chat), and also use things like messenger apps that the work places uses (google chat, slack, other internal company messengers?), in addition to posting in an appropriate forum and email. If it seems like you've mentioned it too many times then you may have mentioned it enough.

This is a general suggestion. I'm not sure how it fits to your specifics. Take what you like and leave the rest