Is Your Internal Communications Headed to the ICU?

How healthy is the internal communications function in your organization? Is it just what the doctored ordered or is it headed toward the ICU (Internal Communications Undervalued) ward? Think about how your internal communications team is perceived by others in your organization. One a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being a tactician and “fast food communicator” and 10 being a strategic communicator and executive counselor, how do you think internal communications is viewed by your leadership? What opportunities are there for improvement?

Take our “ICU Screening” to see if your internal communications function is at risk. Answer the following questions as “yes” or “no” to get a better idea of where internal communications stands in your organization. This screening is designed to be an exercise in self-reflection, and to help you identify areas of strength and weakness.

Internal Communications Undervalued (ICU) Screening

  1. Are you viewed by the leaders of your organization as someone who just sends email messages out rather than as a trusted adviser?
  2. Does your organization tend to focus on communicating to more than with its employees?
  3. Are messages in your organization more about what to do than why we’re doing it?
  4. Are some people in your organization focused more on outputs than on outcomes?
  5. Is your organization more focused on command-and-control than influence-and-include?
  6. Are communications in your organization sometimes one-off and fragmented rather than integrated and coordinated?
  7. Are messages in your organization sometimes lacking clear direction, prioritization and context?
  8. Are messages sometimes contradictory to the organization’s value messages?
  9. Are most of your communication processes and procedures undocumented and improvised as situations arise?

If you answered “yes” to five or more of these questions, you probably need to get your internal communications function into ICU treatment — stat! If you answered “no” to five or more of these questions, then congratulations, you’re strategically sound for now, but always be vigilant.

After reflecting on the screening questions, what thoughts do you have on how internal communications teams can demonstrate their value? Please share your comments below.

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What are your biggest internal communications challenges? Please take a moment to take our quick internal communications challenges survey. We’ll report results in the coming weeks.

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