Process consistency in communication? – now just stop!
Consistent processes internally are a fundamental prerequisite for consistent communication externally
27 Sept 2021
Have you ever thought about process consistency within communication? Consistency outwardly forms one of the cornerstones of integrated communication and receives a lot of attention in communication departments. Within the communication process, however, it is treated much more neglectfully. We want to change this and therefore show why it is so important here.
Of course, when we talk about integrated communication, consistency outwardly plays a major role. Its advantages in relation to our target groups consist in the fact that it is much easier for them to build trust in an organization. Trust is based on transparency. If an organization constantly takes a new position on the same topic, this is confusing - inconsistent. This in turn harms the public perception and thus the image of an organization.
The subject is treated much more neglectfully in communication departments when it comes to processes. Consistent processes internally are a basic requirement for consistent communication outwardly. It goes beyond the consistent application of a CI/CD. In order to develop within an organization a common "language" that goes beyond what can be laid down in a CI/CD manual, the processes must also be consistent. Communication is always fast-moving. We depend on being able to react quickly to unforeseen events. In both negative and positive situations. Lengthy approval processes, the constant redefining of processes, and the poor teamwork of individual steps weaken the effectiveness of a communication department. It is, of course, not possible to cushion every case with this. It is in the nature of things that there are always exceptional cases that cannot be squeezed into predefined process steps. But for this very reason, it is important that these templates can be applied to 99 percent of cases. This is the only way to have sufficient resources and freedom to deal with the remaining percent in the best possible quality.
Competences in demand - but which ones?
But how exactly can this be ensured? How should we proceed? The first step is time-consuming and laborious: the entirety of communicative activity must be broken down into individual steps. This requires a very analytical approach. This is a competence that - without wanting to offend anyone - is not necessarily in focus in the communication industry. Creativity, writing and presentation skills - or the ability to represent an organization outwardly - are in demand. We are looking for analytical thinking more in the finance or IT department. Occasionally, that makes sense, too. However, we are well advised to build up this competence in places. So that we have forces within an organization who understand the entirety of the communication process and are capable of analyzing it. This means that the person must be capable of both disassembling the process and putting it back together again in a meaningful way.
"The digitalization of the communication process is already the first step in the right direction."
Because the more chaotic and confusing processes become, the less possible it is to generate consistent outputs. This disassembling and reassembling is like a Herculean task. But in the end, we have a clockwork in which all cogs mesh perfectly.
If a person does not bring the necessary competence and cannot build it up in the foreseeable future, it is certainly advisable to acquire it. The disadvantage here is that an external person first has to familiarize themselves with the existing processes. However, an outside perspective can sometimes work wonders as well.
An additional help can also be provided by IT
The digitalization of the communication process is already the first step in the right direction. The efficiency of process optimization can therefore be made much more powerful if it is linked to a communication management software. Whether it is already in use or needs to be introduced is secondary. The second thing can make it easier under some circumstances to rethink existing (or missing) processes in the course of introducing new software anyway. It makes little sense to impose a consistently functioning tool on chaotic processes. It would be better to use the resources that must be invested to adapt the logic of a software to inconsistent processes with improvised workarounds to rethink the processes.
After all, every management tool is based on models and is not infinitely adaptable to individual - and often nonsensical - processes. Especially tools that claim to function across processes are based on objectively optimized processes. If they do not, processes can be freely put together, the same chaos results in the end as at the beginning.
Long story short: A sensibly selected communication management tool not only drives digitalization forward, but also supports process optimization. Because the logic of each such software is based on an already optimized process and helps break down one's own work into individual process steps. They can then be put back together again to form a consistent whole, both subsequently and in line with this software.
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