The Ripple Effects of An Unstable World on Internal Communications

By Rogério Artoni

In the past couple of years, the world has seen big political changes as well as a rise in nationalism and far-right extremism. We have experienced everything from a shaken European Union with the results of the Brexit referendum, to a baffled world when Donald Trump (a.k.a.self proclaimed  “stable genius”) won the US presidential election. Moreover, here in Brazil, the former President Dilma Rousseff was impeached and the country saw an unprecedented decline in trust in the government. The effects of political instability is not limited to its effects on the economy or on diplomatic relations, but also has significant effects on various areas in organisations, including communications.

To start off, external uncertainty increases the need for, and importance of, internal stability and certainty. This goes for countries, as well as for companies and individuals. In companies and organisations in general, this means that leaders need to present certainty to their employees in form of a clear purpose. It is vital that members of the organisation are provided with a clear view of how their individual work is contributing to the purpose of the company on an organisational level. This way, they can feel assured that they are important to the company and that they are on the right path. In other words, leaders need to prioritize employee engagement to promote internal stability. One of the most important tools for accomplishing this is working on the internal communications of the organisation.

Moreover, the geopolitical uncertainties that damage or decrease cross-border unity, impacts multinational organisations in the way that those companies who manage to maintain a one-company culture across different countries, will have a competitive advantage. Consequently, those companies who fail to keep a unified culture, will be in disadvantage. Just as with communicating the purpose of individual employees work in the organisation, internal communications is also a vital tool for maintaining a solid and unified company culture. Of course, maintaining a one-company culture across borders and in offices in different cities and countries, is not an easy task. It is something that requires dedication, competence and exceptionally strong leadership, both on a global and national level.     

Strong leadership is, without a doubt, a success factor for businesses and other organisations overall. However, in times of crises and instability, it becomes even more important. Leaders, being these team leaders, middle managers or c-suite executives, play a crucial part in maintaining functioning internal communications and a stable climate within the organisations. It is, now more than ever, fundamental to view internal communications as an integral part of the organisation and to use it to promote transparency.

Apart from transparency, a strong leadership also requires emotional intelligence and empathy. To be able to communicate effectively, so that those whom you are communicating with understand what you intend them to understand, it is vital to have the capacity to see things from their perspective. This involves respecting the diversity within the organisation, being able to adapt your message to this diverse audience and, also, receiving their diverse responses.

This way, leaders can bring a sense of stability and security and diminish the negative effects of the external instability on the organisations.  


Text originally published in portuguese on Aberje’s site.