When The Going Gets Tough – 4: Communicate

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It has been a tumultuous afternoon as far as macro-economic developments are concerned. The Indian Stock Market, in continuation of a global sell-off earlier on, ended 2% down. Urjit Patel, the Governor of RBI resigning and UK court has ordered the extradition of Vijay Mallya. Quite a handful of news flow for one afternoon. Forget asking about the well-being of that poor and honest entrepreneur, even the event of counting of votes tomorrow in five states has taken a back seat as on now.

In chaos like this, what should an entrepreneur do? An easiest way is to sit tight and let the weather clear up. It is not always that the business leader has this luxury. The question is of the duration of the storm. Bad as they were in recent times, it has been nearly a year since the sentiments turned really bad. Experts say that the stormy conditions are expected to last for next six months atleast.

There is no shortage of the courage of conviction in a business leader. What may be needed is a little more communication with stakeholders. With your customers, employees, shareholders, vendors, opinion makers, policy makers and everyone else who matters. Unlike politicians, do not be selective. Communicate with all. The courage of conviction will be visible in your body language.

Skill in the art of communication is crucial to a business leader’s success. He/she can accomplish nothing unless he/she can communicate effectively. This is truer at times when the chips are down. Business leaders do not have the privilege of not communicating, it is their responsibility. From a little child as a customer to a bank who has lend millions to fructify the entrepreneurial vision, constantly communicate you must.

It is comforting for the stakeholders to know that the person is trying hard. The payments may be delayed, the goods may not reach on time, sometimes the organizations do miss the salary schedule. The difference between anxious and understanding stakeholder is how well have you communicated the causes of such incidents. A stakeholder is more empathetic with the business leader who is seen as making an attempt to communicate.

Consider this, which builder/developer of real estate would you prefer to buy your apartment, even if rate, location, etc. are similar? From a name that has never tried to communicate with you to someone who is comforting you about his financial stability, ethical business practices, CSR, growing enterprise, well-trained sales team, etc.? I am sure that the answer will be the same if you are a banker lending project finance, a key vendor or a government official. Communication is the key.

Communications build reputation. And an important aspect of a great business is its reputation.