When was the last time you got to pick the brains of four – count them, four! – C-suite executives from four leading companies? Doesn’t happen every day, right?

Well, that’s just what I get to do on Wednesday, June 8, when I moderate the C-suite panel at the IABC World Conference in New Orleans. I am particularly fascinated to ask them how communication can be reinvented to meet the changing needs of business.

Our C-suite panelists come from four different parts of the business:

  • Business ethics and compliance
  • Communication, business development and client service
  • Human Resources
  • Information technology

What’s interesting about the combo is this: HR is trying to find and keep great employees, IT is trying to arm these employees with the right technology to get the work done, and communication is trying to enable them with the right information. Meanwhile, business ethics and compliance is trying to ensure all employees make good decisions. It is a set of symbiotic relationships. Or at least it should be.

Why collaborative communication is crucial to business

Success in the picture I paint above depends on great communication across and through the entire experience. And, I mean “communication” in the most collaborative way possible. If any one part tries to go it alone, they likely won’t deliver the highest ROI.

For example, if IT deploys great technology without the right training, communication and adoption effort, no one will use the technology. Moreover, if IT failed to engage users in dialogue about their needs early on, it might select the wrong tools.

Meanwhile, HR departments that haven’t learned how to reach out to millennials in new recruiting channels might not meet the needs of the organization. Plus, if they are still trying to respond to individual employee queries with phone calls, the HR team members are probably not enabling remote or field employees effectively. Those remote employees can’t count on making a phone call during the “normal” work day, but they can access reference information via a mobile device or engage in dialogue via messaging tools.

Communication teams that haven’t embraced the content curation role – who are still trying to create and control everything themselves – are missing a crucial opportunity to engage people across the organization. When  it comes to content, it’s no longer about perfection, it’s about sharing knowledge and knowhow.

Finally, ethics in a global context includes collaborating with employees in all locations to understand cultural traditions. This makes it easier to manage employee behavior to corporate expectations. Transparent team communication further encourages ethical behaviors.

What matters to the C-suite?

In the end, it really comes down to what drives the C-suite and the business. In the examples above, that might be:

  • Full ROI of technology investment
  • Enablement and productivity of remote/virtual employees
  • Attraction and retention of the best and brightest
  • Sharing and capture of intellectual knowledge across the organization
  • Avoidance of ethics and other regulatory violations

Each of these supports goals involving cost, output, capability and sustainability. That’s what the C-suite cares about. But don’t take it from me. Take it from the panelists on IABC’s World Conference C-suite panel. Register today and join us!

Have a question you want me to put to the panelists? Ask me here in a comment and I’ll try to get it into the conversation. Then I’ll blog about the discussion afterwards.