Communication – The Secret to a Successful Technology Initiative

By Jeff Wilk

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Who?  What?  Where?  When?  Why?  The last thing you want to hear as a business leader after months of design and development on any transformational project are those five words.  Even with flawless technology delivery, one-word questions such as these mean your communications have failed, and you are standing on the edge of disaster with your entire initiative.

In our blog on achieving successful adoption of your Digital Transformation initiatives we discussed the 5 basic elements necessary to achieve your stated ROI through adoption. We then focused on the first two elements, Contextual Design and Collaboration.  In this blog we will cover Communications.

Communicate… sounds so easy, but done the wrong way, in the wrong format, at the wrong time and without the correct message for each recipient, communications could be the most difficult part of achieving your overall strategic plan.

Fortunately, there are many time-tested approaches to leverage communications and make it the most integral component and powerful tool for any project.  Here are 6 rules you should focus on:

  1. Communication starts long before your project does. Undoubtedly it took you months to gain approval for your initiative, secure funding, line-up supporters, and begin socializing the vision to identify future team members.  It’s critical to remember that your future projects communications started with your very first concept building conversation or email. People will remember what you said.  Plan, hone your message, and modify as you go.
  2. Identify your Stakeholders, Supporters, and Saboteurs. None of this should be a surprise as there will always be people taking all sides of any transformation effort.  The key is to identify and categorize all of them and align your messages to each.
  3. W-I-I-F-M.  (What’s in it for me?). Strongly related to #2, your communications must align with a goal that resonates for the recipients who ultimately drive project success.
  4. 1 Project = Multiple Milestones = Numerous Communications Goals.  Every stage of your initiative needs to have communications that match their individual goals while remaining focused on the overall vision. Take a focused approach to highlight the value for everyone and to celebrate reaching each milestone along the way.
  5. Multidimensional and Multidirectional Tailoring.  Your initiative has many stakeholders across multiple organizations and user bases; they all have different levels of expertise and knowledge.  Simply put, each of your communications needs to consider each of them and be tailored to meet each of their individual needs and points of reference.
  6. Once is never enough.  Perhaps one of the most time-tested truths of effective communications is that you need to repeat it at least 7 times for it to take hold.  Consider a tagline, a headline, or slogan for each message. These are easier to repeat across varying media in a repetitive and reinforcing approach.

Communications are critical and seemingly simple to do.  Unfortunately, without a well thought out and executed plan the odds of achieving your strategic transformation are not in your favor.  Be deliberate in your approach, be thoughtful in your words, and be certain to monitor the feedback so that your next communication can be tweaked to stay current and relevant.

Oyster Consulting’s Digital Technology Strategy & Solutions team has designed and led many successful digital transformations and tech stack revitalization efforts leveraging the very steps above and many others that cater to your firms’ unique needs, capabilities, and vision.  With extensive leadership and practitioner careers as their background of proven success, our team is the partner you need to make your technology transformation a success. 

About The Author
Photo of Jeff Wilk

Jeffrey Wilk

Jeff Wilk started his career as an Advisor and has a strong track record of executive success in strategic planning and execution, business assessment, transformation and growth. Jeff was directly accountable for several mergers/acquisitions, product and digital platform transformations, patent-pending products, and operating model RFPs and overhauls, including delivering the industry’s first “Robo” platform.