In the post, It's Not Nagging: Why Persistent, Redundant Communication Works the author reports, along with other findings, the following conclusions:
- "managers who are deliberately redundant as communicators move their projects forward more quickly and smoothly than those who are not." The effect was even more pronounced for managers "without power".
- "Clarity in messaging matters less than redundancy. It's not the message; it's the frequency of the message that counts in getting the job done."
Extending these findings to leadership, it's easy to see how they can be applied. But there's a downside that must be accounted for too.
While repetition can be purposefully used for the good of the organization, it can also be used to its detriment. It's often unknowingly applied to deter innovation and thwart challenges to the status quo (especially notable since it's effective even in the hands of those "without power").
For example, one organization's manager incessantly advertised how much they were accomplishing given their staff size, but complained that they were struggling - a seemingly reasonable attempt to justify more staff.
However, they'd failed to ask basic questions like:
- What are we doing that isn't delivering value to our customers?
- How can we leverage technology to deliver more with less?
A closer look look revealed ample opportunity to better utilize existing staff. The repetitious message had been acting as a wall, hiding opportunities and better alternatives.
- Intentionally repeat key communications using multiple media.
- Use redundant communication to underpin ideas important to an organization's culture.
- Listen. Develop an acute awareness of the messages that are regularly repeated by employees. Look for the opportunities often hidden behind them. Steer the repetitious messages in new directions where needed.