“Persistence pays”- 11 December 2012

Shweta was a new addition to the corporate communication team. She was bubbling with ideas, and wanted to implement those rather quickly. Even though her boss, a veteran of several years’ experience, told her to go slow as there would be no takers for her ideas, Shweta kept insisting that there should be no delays. Ultimately, the boss said to her, “Come on girl, try. But if you don’t meet with success, don’t blame the system or yourself or me.”

For Shweta, that was enough to get started. She first sought a meeting with Division Vice President and talked animatedly about how to improve internal communication of the company so that everybody knows what is happening in all sections. The VP just asked her to forget the issue and look for something else to do. A few days later, she again appoached him. And again- after a few days. Ultimately, the VP relented and had a detailed talk with Shweta.
The result was encouraging. For, when she implemented those ideas, the response from the bosses was good and from others down the line was okay. Buoyed by the success, Shweta launched another project to improve internal communications. This time, she involved another boss, the Division head. This man was not as kind as the previous Division VP. He just asked her to leave and never come back to him for that problem. Undaunted, Shweta approached the man once again. This time, she heard all his diatribes but kept insisting that he gave her project a serious thought.
Ultimately, the boss agreed and took a look at her proposal. He was impressed and tried another project of international communication. That project, too, was a huge success.
This did not happen in just a few weeks. Both the projects took Shweta almost a full year. But that helped her a bit. For, she got that year’s best employee award.
Yet, in the higher echelons of the organisation, Shweta was Madame Nobody. Seniors still criticised her, and the colleagues — the peers — were skeptical about such projects that require a lot of internal convincing. They felt, good projects needed an immediate approval, and should not need so much of PR.
Shweta just smiled and continued her efforts to improve internal communication through persistence. Her point was simple: People are used to working in a particular manner and are not generally ready to change their ways. Yet, she believed, that both, internal communication and internal PR are equally important. For, she felt, it was internal communication that consolidated the organisation from within.
Her belief was not ill-founded. For, when she was working in another company for a couple of years before making the switch, Shweta had learned it the hard way that if the employees were not convinced about the plus points of the organisation, they did not serve the company effectively. This was not a philosophy, but it was a belief based on practical experience.
In a couple of years more, the company noticed a marked improvement in the quality of internal communication as well as in internal culture. And then came a big reward. Shweta was chosen to attend two back-to-back global meets on internal communications and returned with much appreciation for her papers and participation.
One day, however, after Shweta was back from the tour, a couple of so-called well wishers said that during her absence, a few top bosses were criticising her for all her activities. Shweta felt hurt. Yet, she chose not to confront any of the bosses. Instead, she called on the Division VP and confided with him the grief she felt. The man was kind, and said, “Shweta, don’t get disheartened. This is how things are. But all I know is that everybody appreciates you. Somebody seems to have fed you with deliberate negative reports. So, don’t go by those. Keep faith, and keep doing your thing.” Shweta took that advice seriously and continued with her activity without giving any heed to loose talk.
This real-life story shows only one reality: Internal communications are as important as the external ones. And more importantly, what matters most is persistence and patience when it comes to getting approvals for internal projects as well.

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