Running Internal Initiatives and Preventing Miscommunication

Dec 28

It may be very common advice, but with time, when a company grows, it can be easily forgotten how many people could be affected and frustrated by even the smallest changes.

Imagine yourself in a situation when someone tells you that you should migrate from one platform to another this week without explaining why.

It’s not really how it should be done, right? 

Transparency and open communication are the most important things to consider when running an internal initiative. Yes, it takes time and patience, so be ready for that!

Give all context and possible solutions

Give as much context as possible when you are describing your initiative. It would guarantee a better understanding of the goal and the reason why you want to achieve something. Open communication would encourage people to ask questions about the initiative or solution and help prevent possible mistakes or throwbacks.

Therefore, list your suggestions or possible solutions for how the initiative could be achieved. Do not leave it completely for others to do. It would show that you are curious about it. 

I think we can all agree that we don’t feel motivated to contribute to something we don’t know anything about or can’t see the value of. So make sure you have clearly described it and have done your homework!

Have a single source of truth for everything

Any information about the initiative should be easily accessible and visible to everyone. That way, it would always be visible, and no one would have to search for long. Try to find the best place where it could be stored.

I like to use the Issue Tracker for that. I can write a description of an initiative, add attachments, and split the initiative into the smallest chunks – tasks. I would recommend using the same tool you use in the company already. Try to prevent additional and unnecessary processes.

Define and inform the stakeholders

Usually, company-wide initiatives affect different people and departments. So carefully consider who should be involved and informed about your planned changes. When you have a list, it would be easier to understand the initiative’s scope, split it into smaller pieces, and collect all requirements from them.

It’s a great time, then, to put everything together and share it with everyone. I like to create a separate Slack channel for communication and use it for exactly that until the initiative is finished.

Get feedback

When you present your idea to all key stakeholders, describe the problem, action points, and roadmap – leave enough time for questions and discussion afterward. Try to create a comfortable atmosphere.

Do not hesitate to ask for feedback. It is the only way for you to improve in problem-solving. Every person involved must clearly understand why and how you are thinking of executing your initiative.

Again, a separate channel for an initiative could be very useful to have at this point too. People could raise questions anytime.

Sometimes the solution to a problem is discovered through silly questions, by questioning the obvious.

Deadline is important

Having deadlines and meeting them can be an effective way to ensure that the initiative is on track and you deliver what you promised. So be specific about the deadline of the task – when it should be completed and closed. If the scope of the initiative is large enough, it is worth splitting it into directional milestones.

Also, be realistic about it. Leave enough time for all stakeholders to plan their time to complete tasks.

Follow-up and status update

Constantly be in touch with the stakeholders about status updates. Remind them about the deadline and the tasks they need to complete for this initiative.

If you have meetings with the stakeholders – plan some free time for people to catch up and discuss which teams have already completed their tasks, which are in progress, and what’s left to do. Discuss issues if teams encounter them. It would help and encourage other teams to complete tasks from their side too.

Reflect and celebrate

Review what went well and what could be improved for next time. Bring all the people who contributed together and share some insights on how everything went – write those points on the board and discuss each of them.

This would help to prevent the same mistakes next time, show your willingness to learn and improve, and create a space for people to share their opinions with everyone. Take feedback positively – it may help you improve future initiatives.

And celebration! It’s a good time to give kudos and review the results of the initiative. If you have some statistics to share – don’t hesitate to do it! 

Most importantly: migrating from one tool to another or the implementation of a new system could affect not only you but other colleagues too, so take care of it and provide as much information as possible. Do not forget you own it and keep it until the end. Be patient.


Lukas Varkalis

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