How Do You Cover The Journalistic Side Of Leadership?
Mission, Vision, Strategy. These are all drivers of action which get stakeholders inspired about what needs to be set into play to achieve the goals of an organization. These pieces of the foundation help drive the day-to-day operations toward goal fulfillment and should become engrained in the group’s story.
The effectiveness of a group or organization can sputter if the core of its communication, both internally and externally, falls apart or is unclear. Without a solid understanding of what a group does or is trying to accomplish, it becomes harder for stakeholders and supporters to get behind a mission, vision, and strategy.
That communication needs to be there. It needs to be conveyed. It needs to be articulated.
The story needs to be told.
“The ebb and flow and changes in details are not an issue so long as it is a priority for the leader to be aware and stay ahead of those adjustments.”
Because of a leader’s position in their organization, it falls upon him or her to help foster the first version and subsequent iterations of the organization or group’s story.
They need to convey to others the details of what it is that has happened, is happening, and will be happening through the group’s endeavors.
You could even say that one of the hats a leader wears is that of journalist.
Journalists take the pulse of a environment. They collect information, capturing the tone and facts, and organize all these components into a coherent message to those with a stake in the story.
A leader’s communication style should do the same.
Much like journalists, leaders should collect information to construct a story for all stakeholders to understand and get behind. They then make adjustments and revisions as they go when new information is made available. Through these stories, leaders keep their followers apprised of pertinent developments as they materialize.
“The leader has to be a student of the Who?, What?, Where?, When?, and Why? in order for the How? to be delivered.”
The basis and foundation of the work for the mission is always outlined in the story the leader conveys to others. It is all captured in the leader’s breakdown of the Who?, What?, Where?, When?, Why?, and How? of the story.
Who is the group? Who is the organization? Who are the players within the borders of the mission at hand? The identity of the organization and the collection of talents within its walls need to be recognized, captured, utilized, and represented.
A mission can’t proceed forward without knowing who the players are and what they can make happen for, and contribute to, the goals of the organization.
It’s important that a leader understand who is in the organization and what they can bring to the table.
Does the leader outline or demonstrate what an organization can deliver?
What is it, in the course of the actual work, that makes the group function at its best?
Does the leader outline, acknowledge, and understand where the organization currently stands? Does the leader highlight and demonstrate what the resources are of the organization – the employees, capital, the partners, the stakeholders?
The group has to know it’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It has to know the What? of everything, as best as possible. It has to consider all possibilities and resources. It has to know its work to the best of its collective ability.
Does the leader outline where the organization is going in the long- and short-term?
An organization needs to understand what it is driving forward toward and for. It has to know its purpose clearly, succinctly, and consistently. As soon as the where becomes a passing thought, focus is lost, and cohesion and success are forgone.
Organizations can not only focus all their energy on the present, but need to carry out their operations through both proactive and reactive methods and actions to guide a concerted effort forward.
Does the leader outline what the timeline is for deliverables, goals, and success?
The When? exists in the timeline of delivery of mission and commitments. Has the leader studied and understood both what needs to be achieved and what can be achieved utilizing the resources of the organization, so he or she can outline when, realistically, goals should be met?
The When? helps set the cadence of the work and the urgency of the message.
Why is it the organization does what it does?
What is the purpose of the work? What is the driving force behind the work of an organization, besides the bottom line?
Without purpose, the effort most people provide would be rather deflated and defeated. It is that Why? that lights a fire under a mission.
It is that intangible that keeps a consistent and stable foundation under the effort of the organization.
How is it that we do what we do?
Utilizing all the previous steps listed above, how is the leader going to outline how the present will be tied into the future?
It is up to the leader to outline the first steps to begin harnessing all the resources of the organization to move toward.
The leader has to be a student of the Who?, What?, Where?, When?, and Why? in order for the How? to be delivered.
The leader is the storyteller. But the leader doesn’t have to come up with all these components. Instead he or she has to harness his or her people and be able to put together the story draft of what it is an organization does and will do.
Yes – a draft. A leader mocks up the idea, which is then refined in concert with her or his stable of specialists, advisors, and workers.
“Because of a leader’s position in their organization, it falls upon him or her to help foster the first version and subsequent iterations of the organization or group’s story.”
Those employees or followers come into the workplace at various points in time and location. Within their area of the organization, they should know the answer to how their little piece of the organization contributes to the overall story of the mission. The best way to do that is to hear about it as well as contribute to its ongoing revisions and changes.
And changes are and should be anticipated. For a major story you read today, which impacts the masses, the details will develop and be refined from one day to the next. The ebb and flow and evolution of details are not an issue so long as it is a priority for the leader to be aware and stay ahead of those adjustments.
It’s up to all of us to study the points listed above.
Whether we are the leader or not, each of us has a role in the story.
How do you want the story of your organization to both be told and read?
So, What About You?
- Does your leader properly cover the story of your organization? Do you?
- How have you seen the story shift and adjust from iteration to iteration and why?
- How do you make sure to understand, in general, where each part of your organization’s story currently stands? What steps do you take to improve the story?