I have keenly observed how organisations in Kenya including government ministries and institutions have blundered on their communication strategies thus critically compromising achievement of their goals and objectives.
Communication is the root of all relationships, whether personal or professional. Thus, one can't do without effective communication. Indeed, in order to build better relationship within organisations corporate leaders must hone their communication skills.
Let’s take the example of Kenya Airways (KQ), currently experiencing serious financial woes as a result of wrong management decisions. In any organisation, effective communication leads to effective management which aids attainment of organisational goals. Poor communication in any organisation is therefore at the centre of any failed management. Effective personnel management is a function of effective communication as management involves working with and through others to achieve corporate goals.
The realisation of the goals of an organisation hinges on effective communication among the various facets of the organization.
A recent report to the National Assembly shows that KQ, which was once the leading airline in the continent, was plunging down the path to bankruptcy due to daily losses running into millions of shillings.
The current KQ management in their argument blamed this on poor management decisions made in the past. The report by KQ management further, showed that unstable fuel prices in the international market, staff expenses, fleet ownership leases, finance costs and landing and navigation costs as some of reasons for KQ’s challenges.
Nevertheless, from where I stand, the woes in KQ had and has everything to do with poor communication. Communication within and outside the organisation seemed to have failed appallingly from the onset. This information on the challenges the airline was experiencing seems not to have been shared with the relevant decision makers and stakeholders at the right time in order to salvage the situation at the earliest opportunity.
The company should have communicated the challenge it was facing to the relevant stakeholders at the appropriate time to avoid a situation of complicating the financial challenge even further. However, it seems that communication was not relayed to the relevant stakeholders and KQ management kept putting on a brave face that everything at the institution was okay.
The quality of critical strategic decisions depends upon the quality of communication especially from management.
Without effective communication, it may not be possible to issue instructions to others or even alter a plan/strategy that is going wrong.
Effective communication thus would have helped KQ to alter or amend implementation of plans and policies in order to avoid a situation where things moved from bad to worse. The fact that the company continues to make huge losses year in year out exemplifies a failed communication system in the organisation.
Further, KQ failed to appreciate that effective communication fosters effective control. This implies that, the extent of actual performance, comparing it with standards set by plans and taking corrective actions of nonconformities, if any, to ensure attainment of company objectives and goals.
Therefore, communication acts as a tool of effective control. Communication has incredible implication on management processes such as planning, organizing, directing, and controlling. Accordingly, as mentioned above ignoring the role of effective communication can have serious ramification to an organization desire to achieve its goals. Effective communication is critical in any organisation as it serves as a bridge between corporate leadership and the subordinates. It has been argued that effective communication creates collective understanding and trust among the employees of the organisation. It encourages co-operation between the employer and the employees.
Without communication, there cannot be sound industrial relations and industrial peace. Finally, from the forgoing, organisations, government ministries and institutions must appreciate the role of effective communication in achieving their objectives and or goals as well as mitigating wrong management plans and strategies.
It important therefore to enhance and encourage effective communications within institutions.
Bernard Kimani communication specialist and certified public relations analyst, Nairobi