Leaders often assume that people at all levels understand the organization's goals and objectives. Is that presumption correct? In too many cases, it is not. What happens? First, leaders do not recognize that they must communicate those goals repeatedly - in different ways, through different channels, and using different media. It is not sufficient to address goals once or twice at the outset of the year. You have to beat that drum reepeatedly. However, you also must make a compelling case for why front-line employees should care about those goals and objectives. Ask yourself: So what? How can you answer that question for the workers at all levels. Why should they care?
Even more importantly, though, leaders have to test for understanding. A leader has to put his or her finger on the pulse of the organization, so as to determine whether people heard and comprehended the message. How do you put your finger on the pulse of your firm? Certainly, managing by walking around helps. Meeting people informally, perhaps in small group lunches in the cafeteria, can be useful as well. Finding ways to solicit and address employee questions is crucial. Asking them to play back what they have heard from their managers is a useful technique. Listen carefullyas they speak to you. Don't put words in their mouths. Ask them to be as specific as possible about the sources of their confusion.
If they didn't understand the goals or misintrepreted them, don't blame the audience! It's not their fault for misunderstanding your message. You have to learn from them, and you must clarify and modify the communication accordingly. Ask for their help! Often, the audience can help you craft a more compelling and easy-to-understand message.