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How To Improve Business Operations Through Internal Communications (with Lizabeth Wesely-Casella from L-12 Services)

How is your company’s internal communication? Communication is part of the foundation of any organization and yet we often get it wrong. In this episode, Tim Reitsma and Lizabeth Wesely-Casella, Founder & CEO of L-12 Services, will talk about why communication is important and how you can level up your communication game through interviewing, surveying, and documenting.

Interview Highlights

  • Whenever Lizabeth speaks to a startup or small organizations and entrepreneurs, she’s emphasizing why it makes sense to start documenting. [4:14]
  • There is an overriding feeling that there is massive stress on leadership because they’re supposed to have all the answers. And that’s not actually what leadership is about. Leadership is about relationship development and listening, and then putting legs on those suggestions. [6:59]

Leadership is about listening and elevating the people who you are leading to provide answers and to feel confident in the work that they do.”
— Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

  • Communication isn’t a one-way street and can’t be boiled down to one single channel. Communication is a dialogue. It’s a two-way street. It’s not just disseminating information from up on high. [12:09]

Communication isn’t just about email and it isn’t just about putting information on the intranet. It’s about meeting people where they’re at.”
— Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

  • One of the things that Lizabeth and her team were doing as an organization is using a tool called the Helix Assessment when they go in to support companies. It helps them assess chaos tolerance. [12:56]
  • Part of the work that they do at L-12 Services is not just sending out an assessment about the mechanics of how people do their job, but they’re also performing one-on-one interviews that have culture-related questions and stay questions. [16:05]
  • The smaller the organization usually, the more chaotic the communication is, especially if they’re closer to the startup stage, then they are scaling immaturely. [19:33]
  • Lizabeth shares a reference to a Microsoft study on wasted time. [21:29]
  • Lizabeth mentions a book called Testing Business Ideas by David Bland and Alex Osterwalder. [29:53]
  • If you know that there is a problem with your process and your workflow, the first thing that you can do is start to interview people, but take that interview and break it into two pieces. At L-12 Services they have an online survey that talks specifically about the mechanics of the job. [33:14]

Meet Our Guest

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella is the Founder and CEO of L-12 Services, a Washington DC firm focused on internal communications and organizational development.

She is a skilled strategic advisor specializing in attrition mitigation, workflow management, process improvement, and culture.

Lizabeth has over 20 years of experience as an administrator and policy and programming consultant. Her work has contributed to successful project outcomes in federal health policy, international program development, and non-profit/association management. In 2014, Lizabeth organized and led process and communication change for First Lady Michelle Obama’s signature program, Let’s Move!.

Using LEAN process improvement and her collaborative nature, Lizabeth calls on her vast range of experiences to pass along insights related to change management, strategic planning, and streamlining workflow.

Lizabeth helps clients prevent “The Great Resignation,” attract high-caliber talent, address burnout, and improve productivity.

photo of lizabeth wesely casella

A better world of work is one where the staff comes to the job with the clearest understanding of what it takes to be successful every single day.” — Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

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Read The Transcript:

We’re trying out transcribing our podcasts using a software program. Please forgive any typos as the bot isn’t correct 100% of the time.

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

Leadership is about listening and elevating the people who are, you know, who you are leading to provide answers and to feel confident in the work that they do so they can, you know, provide innovative solutions to problems that either everybody has acknowledged, or maybe they only see on the horizon. But leadership is about relationship development and listening, and then putting legs on those suggestions. 

Tim Reitsma

Welcome to the People Managing People podcast. We’re on a mission to build a better world of work and to help you build happy, productive workplaces. I’m your host, Tim Reitsma. And today, I am joined by Lizabeth Wesely-Casella, Founder and CEO of L-12 Services — a company focusing on creating clarity from chaos through workflow, processes, and culture.

So, question: how does your organization communicate? Through emails? Processes? Slack? Does your team know what’s going on at a company level or do new people know how to do their job? 

Communication is a part of the foundation of any organization and yet we get it wrong so often. In this episode, we’ll talk about why communication is so important and how you can level up your communication game through interview, survey, and documenting.

Welcome to the podcast, Lizabeth. It’s great to have you here. I know we connected a little while ago and start talking about some ideas for this episode. And we’re going to get into talking about internal communications in relation to business operations in a minute. But again, welcome to the show.

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

Thank you so much for having me. I’ve been looking forward to this. 

Tim Reitsma

Yeah. And so before we get into it, why don’t you just tell our listeners a little bit about what you’re up to? What’s top of mind for you these days? 

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

Sure. So, you know, my team and I are really talking a lot about what’s next. You know, what is going to happen when we finally do hit the end of this attrition bubble that we’ve been calling the great resignation? What can we do to support organizations and help them get their house in order and help them, you know, really see the value, the operations value of focusing on, you know, institutional knowledge and the knowledge that their teams have currently. 

You know, how does that impact their costs? How does that impact their revenue? How does that impact their innovation? So we’re developing tools all the time and trying to have the conversations so that people can, you know, kind of start looking to the future and have some hopeful thoughts rather than the thoughts of fear and anxiety that mass attrition will bring up. 

Tim Reitsma

Yeah. There’s still so much going on about mass attrition and we’re not through it yet. I mean, latest job numbers are astounding. We’ve recently launched a survey and collecting results from people who have left their jobs and why. 

And yeah, if that’s what we focus on, it’s a little depressing, but I like your focus on, okay, well, it’s going to end, what’s next? And what can we do? 

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

Right. And you know, it’s not as though everybody has the same timing. Businesses are staggered at this point. Some of them have lost as many people as there are to lose. So, how can they start the work early to make sure that their processes are, you know, streamline and their workflows are nice and smooth. And, you know, preventing the bottlenecks and all of the pieces that go along with, you know, getting your house in order. 

Tim Reitsma

Yeah. Now you’re speaking my language. Bottlenecks and processes and you know, the business operations side of things, which, you know, when we do think of people leaving our organizations, how much, as you see, institutional knowledge leaves with them.

And it’s not like, okay, if you’re listening to this on your way into the office, everyone’s going to stop what they’re doing and start documenting everything just in case. It’s just good practice to document how things are done. 

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

Oh yes. Every size organization and every stage of growth. I’m always, you know, whenever I speak to a startup week or, you know, small organizations and entrepreneur weeks, I’m emphasizing why it makes sense to start documenting. And, you know, I reiterate, I can’t remember who I heard this from, but the SOP is when you’re starting out, it’s more than appropriate to consider them sloppy operating procedures. It’s just the beginning. You refine them as iterative.

Eventually they become, you know, Standard operating procedures with a capital S but in the beginning, just, you know, starting to take notes about how, you know, the gates of responsibility connect. And what the job descriptions are, or if you’re, you know, a really lean small team doing a lot of different types of tasks and you have multiple responsibilities, know what each area looks like right now, along with notes about what it could grow into.

When you have more people who can help, you know, with the chain of command and lift all of the, the heavy responsibilities that will go with it as you scale. 

Tim Reitsma

Yeah, it’s an important tool to have in your toolbox, whether you’re leading a team, small company, large company is, you know, having an understanding of what do you do and how do you do it?

It’s seems so fundamental, but yet often overlooked. It’s oh, we’ll just document it later. And you know, 10 years later, you still haven’t documented anything. And, you know, maybe knock on what things haven’t broke, but it’s so, so important. And that ties in with our topic today about internal communications. 

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

And in institutional knowledge, because if those people who know how the processes work leave, who’s going to train the new people?

Tim Reitsma

Yeah. Yeah. It’s a fundamental question. And maybe there’s people listening today going, Hmmm, I’ve never thought of that. It’s a big question. It’s a, you know, we’re kind of diving into the topic here. So, but I do want to ask just kind of my two standard questions. If anybody listens to the show regularly, there’s always two questions I ask.

And the first question is Lizabeth, what does it mean to be a leader?

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

I believe that the meaning varies from the group to group that’s being led, but I do know some qualities of effective leadership that I think are sorely lacking right now. And I think it’s because of the underlying current of anxiety. I’m gonna kind of come about this in reverse engineer. A lot of organizations that we’re talking to right now, and the conversations that we’re having with leadership.

There is an overriding feeling that there is massive stress on leadership because they’re supposed to have all the answers. And that’s not actually what leadership is about. Leadership is about listening and elevating the people who are, you know, who you are leading to provide answers and to feel confident in the work that they do, so they can, you know, provide innovative solutions to problems that either everybody has acknowledged, or maybe they only see on the horizon. 

But leadership is about relationship development and listening, and then putting legs on those suggestions. So that the relationship development hasn’t felt like it was a waste of time. Or that the person who’s completing the survey or the poll realizes that their time is valued and their input is valuable.

Tim Reitsma

I love that. It’s listening and elevating and in actioning. So it’s not just there to solve the problem. Hey, this doesn’t work. Hey, this doesn’t work. Hey leader, fix this. Hey leader, fix us. It’s taking the time and maybe coaching or helping others unlock what might not be working so, so others can also solve problems.

And and yeah, otherwise, if that is the definition of a leader is just to solve problems, man, that’s a tough job. 

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

Right. And, and wouldn’t that be the first job to go directly to AI, if that was the case.

Tim Reitsma

Exactly.

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

We always have fears of AI taking the, you know, the staff roles that if there was only one job to being a leader and it was problem solving, we might as well get Watson or Wilson or whatever that the super brain that was on jeopardy. 

Tim Reitsma

Yeah, exactly. Just give it to a super brain and just solve the problem. But yeah, it’s the, yeah, it’s the it’s reducing that, that anxiety. It’s helping the team see past what is currently happening, if there’s a crisis happening. It’s celebrating and coaching and mentoring. It’s all of that. 

And that ties in with my next question is, when you hear the phrase, build a better world of work, you know, what comes to mind?

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

Oh, we’ve got that one crystal clear. I’ve been working at this one for a really long time.

A better world of work is one where the staff comes to the job with an understanding that the clearest understanding of what it takes to be successful every single day. So they know that they do those five things. Then they close out their day, they turn off their computer and they can walk away and know that they did their job.

There’s no ambiguity. The gates of responsibility are clear. The job description is clear. They’re doing what they were brought in to do. And then that leadership piece that we just talked about comes into play, where you’re developing the relationships, where that person who is confident in the work that they’re doing, because it’s clear how they can be successful every day, participates in a mutual dialogue, a discussion that elevates innovative thought. 

And brings creativity to the table and allows for people to know each other well enough to know whether or not professional and personal development is a key aspect to the, their idea of their successful career. Or maybe it’s working from hybrid, or maybe it’s, you know, mastering one level of the job that they do and then having aspirations to something else.

But that relationship piece, that leadership cultivation is a huge piece of that, but that can only come after staff understands clearly what is expected of them so that they can reach it every single day. 

Tim Reitsma

This is so aligned with my thoughts and my belief on this. It’s you know, I wrote an article, and yeah, maybe this is a little shameless plug, but, around this topic of clarity, responsibility, and accountability. And that’s as a leader, it’s like you said, Elizabeth, it’s, leaders need to provide that clarity. And how can we build a better world of work is providing that clarity, demonstrating that clarity. 

Where are we going as an organization? How are you contributing as an individual contributor? What are you responsible for and what are you accountable to? And so that I think is one of the foundations, because that also helps build trust, which also comes up when I ask this question.

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

100%. See, and that’s why I was excited to be on your show. I knew that we aligned here. 

Tim Reitsma

Yeah, we’re so aligned. So get ready for a three-hour episode everyone.

And so, as we pivot a little bit into this idea about business operations and communication I’m curious in, in your work and your consulting, working with companies, what have organizations gotten wrong when it comes to communication?

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

That communication is a one-way street and that communication can be boiled down to one single channel. Communication is a dialogue. It’s a two-way street. It’s not just disseminating information from up on high.

And this is specifically relevant right now, because we have so many people in so many degrees of burnout. Some of them were in early stages. Some of them are just almost completely shot. And what we need to realize is that, communication isn’t just about email and it isn’t just about putting information on the intranet. It’s about meeting people where they’re at.

So one of the things that we’re doing as an organization, when we go into to support companies is we’re using a, a really great tool, called the Helix assessment.

And what it does is it helps us assess chaos tolerance. And the assessment can be used in a number of different ways, but for the work that we do, what we’re trying to understand individual manner is where does the organization as a whole land on the, you know, burnout spectrum, so to speak. Do you have people who are just fine handling chaos really well? They’re super tolerant of it, and they just want to rock and roll and go, okay.

That’s going to help us guide our communication and our messaging to a couple specific types, like maybe those people are ready to just hang out on the intranet and they need the periodic email and they just read the CEO’s mass email blast. Conversely, maybe you have people who are not chaos tolerant.

They’re really ordered tolerant at the moment because they feel like they have no control. There’s been way too much change. There’s, you know, fatigue coming out of everywhere and they may need to be communicated with in a much more, you know, intensive environment. They may need something that’s much more intimate.

So, you know, one-on-one conversations or possibly town hall question and answer period. So when we go in and do in a sense that what we’re checking for is how best to meet people where they’re at in order to communicate with them effectively. 

Tim Reitsma

Yeah. I love that you said it’s not just a one, you know, one size fits all or one-way dialogue.

It’s not just a, you know, I’m just going to send out a speech, read it and everything is good. But it’s also, the opposite of that it’s not just, you know, hearing employees voices and not doing anything about it because that could also be a one-way street. It’s that marrying of both. 

And I’m curious, so if you’re an organization, I don’t know, 50 people, a hundred people, thousand people, knowing that there’s not one type of dialogue that will or won’t work. What do you do? Do you send out weekly emails, month, you know, bi-weekly town halls, skip-level meetings, one-on-one

It’s almost, if somebody’s listening to this going, wow that’s a full-time job then just to be a communicator. So is there a right way or a wrong way or somewhere in the middle? Because I know people would be looking for a prescription. Okay, this is what I need to do.

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

Well, that the way that we approach it is to find out what the bulk of the organization looks like. I don’t want to, you know, scatter plot chart. And then we assess the platforms with which the organization is trying to communicate currently. And we do an assessment about that to see if there’s redundancy if there aren’t enough channels.

And then align the channels that are available with the needs of the organization. Part of the work that we do is the time-consuming piece that most organizations just can’t conform at the moment because they’re busy keeping the wheels on the bus. What we’re doing is we’re not just sending out an assessment about the mechanics of how you do your job, but we’re also performing one-on-one interviews that have culture-related questions, some stay interview 

questions about burnout and chaos tolerance, questions about innovation and how people feel as related to their level of comfort with bringing innovative ideas to leadership or their direct report. So by aggregating that information, we’re at a place that we can analyze what’s working, what’s not. Maybe make some suggestions that, you know, don’t already exist and then go back both to leadership and to focus groups to find out how we can merge that and come down with the most streamlined set of communications channels. 

So, you know, aside from a communications policy, which is a little bit different, that kind of tells you what type of information you report where. This communications assessment is more about how do we meet people where they’re at in a way that they would like information received and that’s still effective for leadership and the goals that they rolled. So it’s a long process and it takes some time and, you know, investment.

But when you come to the other side of it, it can, you know, improve your operations. It can reduce your process time. It allows people to understand clearly what type of information comes at them from what types of channels so they can pick and choose how they receive their information if you’re going to have a multichannel experience. 

Or they know what types of information they should be looking for, if what you’re doing is, you know, taking it down and streamlining it to maybe three channels: email, internal podcast, and intranet, for example. So if people have an understanding of the types of information they will be receiving and the places where they can go to actively look for it, they’re much more likely to engage with it.

And they’re also less likely to spend time hunting and packing or completely giving up and allowing that to turn into white noise. 

Tim Reitsma

Yeah I’ve seen it in small organizations and large organizations that communication could comes up as an area of opportunity when engagement survey results come back as we need more communication and often it’s, well, we communicated enough. You know, it’s what else do you want to know?

And maybe you’re absolutely right. Maybe it’s a different channel of communication. Maybe that weekly email doesn’t work. I know we, here at our company, our CEO sends out a weekly email. We love it. It’s a great, easy, digestible and fun. He’s a funny guy. And so he injects a lot of fun into it. 

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

You’re lucky, that’s awesome.

Tim Reitsma

And so it’s not just, you know, reading a dry white paper. It’s like, here’s what’s most impactful going on around the business and ties it back to the company value. So here’s what we’re trying to do. Here’s what we’re doing in in our organization. 

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

Right. And maybe, you know, if we’re talking about, you know, it’s funny, the smaller the organization, usually the more chaotic the communication is, especially if they’re closer to the startup stage, then they are scaling immaturely.

But you know, you, you have this in larger organizations too, like you said, when they say, do you want more communication? What does that really mean? So by kind of siloing it and saying maybe the quarterly or weekly or annual goals come from that specific email from your leader, but they find out about their opportunities for wellness programs or leadership programs or professional development. 

Maybe they have that held on an intranet site, but having that documented and having it really clear where you can go and see these two very different types of communication is helpful and it reduces time. It allows people to stay more informed.

And, you know, to a certain degree, if you’ve had everything all in that one email, a lot of it would get lost in translation because people just don’t have time to go through a lot of text. 

Tim Reitsma

Yeah. Yeah. It’s just dawned on me and I’m sure there’s a study on this. I’m sure there’s data to support this, but how much time is wasted in your work day looking for information on maybe how to do something? 

How to, you know, how to find out about a policy? How about a process, Hey, I’m now supposed to do X process. How do I do that? And then inversely on that, it’s how much time would then is wasted being asked or asking that business or that process owner.

And how many times are they communicating it? It’s fascinating. I mean, it ties down to or ties up to, sure, the CEO and executive communication, but also the team-to-team communication is so, so important. 

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

Well, two statistics that may be relevant of, I believe that in 2019, it was Microsoft that commissioned a study that found out that something like 27% of management’s time is taken up on those types of emails. The types that they’re crafting and sending out or they’re receiving back about them. And then there’s the other piece that says that $550 billion was lost due to poor internal communication in 2019 alone. So that means rework, time spent talking about something that was written down that wasn’t clear, lost clients, like it encompasses a lot. 

However, if we think about that as the success or failures statistics for 2019, what do you think 2020 looks like? Like that number has to be much larger because we were also going through the transition to remote work if people didn’t know how to do that. So for lost communication dollars, it really equates to your ability to be operational.

If you have broken processes due to a pandemic or due to labor shortage or due to scaling, you’re losing money because you can’t communicate properly. So when you take the time to get your house in order and document how your communication comes to you and what types of communication come on which platforms, you’re saving money.

And you’re also allowing your people on your teams to be confident that they know where to go for the information, what types of information that they need, and potentially to, you know, reduce the timeframe for onboarding new people. So it’s really kind of a win-win and take a beat, get this stuff taken care of and then move forward.

And right now since we’re, you know, getting to the end of that great resignation and attrition bubble to a certain degree, now is the time to do it, because give it 24, 36 months and the people who decided to try their hand at entrepreneurship, a lot of them are going to come back to the work environment. 

They’re, they’re going to come back to the work world because entrepreneurship is really hard. Most of us were trained how to do it properly. You know, there’s no guaranteed success and there’s great comfort in having a paycheck and unlimited resources when you work for somebody else. So if you’re expecting, you know, 10, 20, 30 people to come back to your organization, think about that for a minute.

Are you ready for that? You may want it, but are you ready for it? And so taking the time right now is really important to set yourself up for success. 

Tim Reitsma

It’s so important as we think about this new world of work. You know, I’m sitting in my home office here in your home office, you have a team. I have a team all over the world and if things are not documented, how can someone in Spain or Indonesia be able to get their job done?

If they have a question, I’m sleeping. So is that just a wasted day of productivity versus having things documented. But also, you know, we’re talking about communication a lot of different ways and, it’s yeah. That business process communication, but also that exec team or team lead communication. A simple thing, like, Hey, we’re on a video call, just hit the record button.

You know, if it’s useful information, record it, share it out. New hires would thrive on that information and that data. I started a job many years ago and one of my onboarding things was go and listen to, I think like 10 of the latest CEO weekly chats. So that was 10 hours of not wasted time. I learned so much about the organization, the culture, the values. 

And it’s as simple as hitting that record button. Doesn’t need to be fancy, letterhead or anything like that. It’s just keep it simple and digestible. 

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

And much more effective. I mean, the fact that the organization gave voice to the need for that step and made time and space in the calendar during your onboarding for you to take those 10 hours really speaks volumes to the, the fact that organization valued their people. 

And honor the onboarding process. They didn’t just throw you into the frying pan and expect you to know what to do. And the questions that you probably didn’t know that you didn’t know, you heard there and you were able to hop in and be productive much faster.

Tim Reitsma

Yes. I’ve been on both sides. I’ve been just thrown in and say, yeah, nothing’s documented. We’re still figuring it all out, you know, 10 years later. So good luck. And let us know if you come through the other side. That’s always fun too. As my background is business operations, it’s like, all right, let’s get a pen and paper and start documenting things and streamlined and process.

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

And then other side, those come from the people who don’t actually know what the definition of Agile is. They think that’s Agile, but that’s not Agile. We do it fast and break things. Okay, well, you’ve just broken my brain. It’s going to take me a minute to get back on board here. 

Tim Reitsma

Yeah. And it doesn’t need to be a complex process flow with triangles and squares and arrows and yeses and nos and decision trees.

And it’s just put some things down in a bullet point, especially as we’re in this async world. Like, you know, if I was joining, if you’re hosting a podcast and I was a guest, I guaranteed what I know about you, I would get this great detailed bullet pointed. Here’s what you do. Here’s what you do once you run into trouble and it’s, it just eases everyone’s mind.

Just like, you know, a CEO communication or exec communications to the organization. It just, if we do not hear what’s going on, we’re brilliant beings at making up our own narrative and we can fill in the blanks. 

And so, so, so, so important, but so how do we then encourage people to speak up? Encourage people to communicate or Hey, approach their leadership team or their manager and saying, Hey, things are documented or I need more communication. I don’t know what’s going on. How do we encourage others? 

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

You know, I think that with that question we’re talking to a set of people who is already, you know, they’re ready to have the conversation. There are some people that are just never going to be ready.

They don’t want to, that’s almost conflict to them. But to the people who are ready, I would say, take the existing documents or the lack thereof and edit them as you would see fit. You know, with the, an eye toward keeping it simple, as simple as it can be without being, you know, unproductive and then approach somebody and say, you know, we’ve been through a period of transition and we’re probably all looking at how to improve processes and culture and work level. 

Here’s my idea. What do you think of this? And you may run into somebody who says, well, we’ve just always done it this way. That’s when you have the opportunity to really shine by, you know, having a conversation that makes you the authority of this process. I’ve been working in this space for the last four years.

And I think that because we went to remote and then the hybrid move, some of us are, you know, back in the office, these steps now make sense. And here’s why.

Tim Reitsma

Yeah, it’s the word ownership comes to mind. Taking ownership, not just sitting back, waiting for somebody else. It’s, it’s taking that ownership and that could be scary.

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

It can be. Can I kind of flip the question on its head a little bit though? 

Tim Reitsma

Absolutely. 

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

So if you’re in the leadership and you want to start those conversations or make it a safe space, a comfortable space for people to come to you, how do you train them to get comfortable beyond, you know, the clarity of their, you know, success in their position?

One of the ways that we’ve had fun doing this is to take a very specific book. It’s called Testing Business Ideas. It was, it’s a Wiley book co-authored by David Bland and Alex Osterwalder. And go into an organization or a department, if you just want to do this in small teams and turn it into a book club.

Because the cool thing about this book, anybody that’s familiar with a Wiley book, you know that it’s all about making knowledge bite-sized pieces and great graphics, good colors, and stimulation. And the first third of this book talks about what it means to test a business idea. It gives a great definition.

It gets great examples. The final two-thirds of the book, it’s an encyclopedia that matches up different ideas and how you would test them. You can test them online, you can test them with this free resource. You can test them through these conversations. So everybody reads the book and then breaks up into teams of three and four and talks about ideas that they had as they read the book related to their job. 

And you narrow it down to like, you know, the four or five that are, you know, feasible, desirable, and viable. And then you start having this conversation, it brings play back into the workplace. It brings tingling back into the workplace.

And if you actually come across some ideas that truly could move forward, that also brings community back in the work place. Because you can take all of the teams together because they all have the same understanding of the process of testing to then move forward on this together. So it’s a great opportunity for some of those shier voices to, to come to the table and feel really comfortable about it.

Tim Reitsma

I love that idea. It’s communicating in front of a crowd of hundreds, and hundreds of thousands of people is, it’s second nature to some. But speaking up in a crowd of 10 or 20 is a is challenging and it’s hard and it’s difficult and it’s, it’s not comfortable. So even breaking that down into even smaller bite size groups, and allowing that space for people to even like myself, to like, maybe like you is just to share those ideas and giving opportunities to digest.

But I think it, it also comes back to, as leaders is inviting that feedback. Are we communicating enough? What else do you want to hear? Is there anything that we should be saying that we’re not saying? Or is there stuff that we’re talking about too much that we shouldn’t be talking about?

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

And learning how to think in that way? We all need to know how to practice something before we execute it. And doing it in an environment of play and volunteerism is a great place to start. 

Tim Reitsma

Yeah. I think it’s an important place to start. And, you know, as I think about, you know, we wrap up our conversation about internal communication and what’s the one thing somebody can do today if they’re listening to this on maybe on their way to work or way to home or on their way home is, what can someone do today to level up their internal communications? Whether it’s a leader or an individual contributor or, you know, what’s an example of an idea that you’ve got?

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

To a certain degree depends on the problem you’re trying to solve.

But I think that, if you know that there is a problem with your process and your workflow, the first thing that you can do is start to interview people, but take that interview and break it into two pieces. So it’s very clear that maybe you do it on, the way that we do it at L-12 Services is we have an online survey that talks specifically about the mechanics of the job.

Do you understand the platforms that are necessary for you to perform your job? Do you feel as though the hours that you’re required to be doing your job are in alignment with what you expected? And do you feel as though your job description is up to date? Mechanics on one side, then we follow that up with a one-on-one interview that talks more about the cultural side of things.

Are you comfortable bringing innovative ideas to your direct report? Do you and your direct work meet with each other more than an annual review? Do you have conversations about professional and personal development as opposed to simply productivity? And there are stay interviews sprinkled in there as well.

So I think that for, if you’re not going to invest cash, but you have time to invest, that is a great first step. Because you will find out from the people doing the jobs, basically the grassroots of your organization, what’s working, what isn’t and what you can tune up. So you’re finding out whether or not the channels that you’re currently using are effective or if people don’t know about certain programs that you’ve been offering for years, but they’re not taking advantage of because they really don’t hear about it or it’s become white noise. 

Tim Reitsma

I love that. Yeah. It’s a key takeaway for me is, you know, stop what you’re doing after you’re done listening to this podcast is document.

You know, like write out your most important processes to your business and do you have some documentation around that. But, and then the next step, or maybe simultaneously, I love that idea of surveying people and talking to people at all levels of an organization. And do you have the right tools to do your job?

Do you know where to look for information on, you know, maybe it’s people policies or business policies or processes. Are you getting enough insight into the direction of the organization? Do you know the direction of the organization? What else would you like to hear from the CEO? 

And start there, not just, you know, take down some notes and file it away in your virtual filing cabinet. Take action. Have to take action. 

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

Absolutely. 

Tim Reitsma

Well, it’s been a pleasure. I know I’ve got some great takeaways here and some things that I know I need to bring into my team. And so thank you so much again for coming on, Lizabeth. 

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

Oh, it’s my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me. This has been a really enjoyable conversation.

Tim Reitsma

Yeah. Thanks again. 

And for those who are listening, check out our show notes at peoplemanagingpeople.com, we’ll have a link to Lizabeth’s LinkedIn and her company, as well as some of the resources she talked about today. 

And as always, we’d love to hear your feedback. Head to our LinkedIn, connect with me there, or send me an email at tim@peoplemanagingpeople.com and let me know what you thought of this episode and what you’d like to hear on future episodes. 

And so with that, Lizabeth have a great day!

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

You as well.