The challenge of communication

I was discussing communication with a client yesterday. Their business has grown considerably over the past year and they now operate out of multiple locations across the U.K. Not that long ago the MD could simply call a team meeting and share news with everyone. Now it’s not so easy.

It’s a challenge I had a few years ago with a business I ran in Aberdeen. As we grew, the number of locations increased, and as well as the UK, we also found ourselves with offices overseas.

Communication has always been important to me. I’m a people-person and like to keep everyone up to date with what’s going on in the business, good or bad. It’s an approach that’s helped me build trust over the years. However it’s something I found more difficult once we’d expanded.

We experimented with a few different approaches. Live broadcasts using Skype were okay, YouTube streaming less so. I like to interact with people, so that made it more challenging. We had fun with it, but if I’m honest, we never quite nailed it.

I spoke to Bob Keiller about it once. When Bob was running PSN, he had about 8,000 staff across the world. Bob’s a great communicator and he’d tried different methods too. He’d settled on a couple of things – a weekly email, which he called the ‘Weekly Word’, that was sent to everyone. He also recorded a video message, which again everyone was able to watch. That solved the problem of different time zones.

It’s not easy, and as a business grows you’ll face the communication challenge. Maybe you have already? How do you deal with it?

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