Last month I had the honor of doing a workshop on communication at the Construction Education Institute near Chicago. We discussed common communication challenges including:
- the fundamental differences between sharing information and communication
- handling large amounts of information being exchanged because of new technology
- the criticalness of balancing high tech and high touch communication, and
- increasing awareness of individual communication styles and preferences then aligning to maximize understanding
- There was too little communication to create and sustain high performance (79%)
- Their organizational grapevine needed pruning due to too much fertilizer – poor communication (92%).
- Current big wastes in their communication included: listening to better understand not reply; creating more dialog and less messages; and balancing ‘need to know’ and ‘nice to know’ information.
Effective communication must drive outcomes – what is done, when it is done, and how consistently it is done. Many organizations create lots of well-intended communication activities but ultimately don’t drive understanding and therefore behaviors. Personal accountability to learn and actively use proven communication skills, techniques, and processes is ‘hit or miss’ and there are limited or no consequences for avoiding or not doing it.
So, where do you start? Here are four fundamental areas that deserve time, attention, and disciple to create effective communication for high performing organizations.
- A strategy or plan. Here we are talking about forethought not afterthought about some basics including: key objectives of your internal communication; messages to be shared; methods and media to use; key roles; feedback mechanisms; and success measurements.
- Voice of the employee (VOE). What are your employees expecting and actually experiencing with your communication efforts? Customer feedback helps drive continuous improvement in your products and services. Employee feedback should do the same for internal communication.
- Key communication processes to be used. These should include a balance of high tech and high touch. What communication process is used for ‘breaking news’? For additional background or historical information? For reinforcement of key messages? Please don’t put all your communication eggs into a single process.
- Standards. As noted management expert, Joseph Juran once said, “without a standard there is no logical basis for making a decision or taking action.” For example, does your organization have standards for interpersonal communication; electronic and social media communication use; or the timing, frequency, and duration of organizational communication?
So is your organization really different when it comes to communication? If not, then what is proactively being done to improve its’ effectiveness?
To learn more about Brian’s workshop on Communication download the topic description: …https://www.briangareauinc.com/uploads/3/9/0/0/39008241/wouldsomeonecommunicate-sb.pdf or contact us at 214-543-0844.