What? I told them… Didn’t they hear what I said?!?!
“Why don’t they understand me?”
“What do you mean they didn’t know?”
“Why does no one listen around here?”
Clear communication is a necessity for any functional team and organization. Yet, all too often there is a gaping void in what was thought to be said and what was actually heard. Consequently, the entire process breaks down and all we end up with is noise. Noise that was never heard.
So with so much misunderstanding and so many packets of information never making it to their intended destination, one must imagine that there is a better way to go about this thing called “communication.” To see where we can find and answer, let’s start with a few good questions…
Communication Repair Team
In working to improve communications at various large-scale and global organizations, a few things that I find work well, whether internally or externally, are these solutions to repairing broken lines of communication:
- Start by assessing your organization’s culture and structure via the lens of communications. Are you a virtual culture, a hierarchical culture, centrally located or scattered offices, privately or publicly held company, for profit or no profit etc.?
- Survey your various audience groups and stakeholders. Perform data collection. Ask what works well, what doesn’t, what communications vehicles they prefer, which they read/use most often etc.
- Interpret the responses to data collection and decide what can be done within the given culture and structure of your organization.
- After you decide what you think may work best, have a debrief session with those audiences you asked to give advice. After all, if you want improved internal communication, it should start with actually communicating!
- Implement specific content, vehicles, and frequencies based on the above. Don’t be afraid to contact a consultant or subject matter expert for a neutral review of your findings and help implementing recommendations.
- Re-evaluate periodically. What communication strategy/plan works the best for your organization will really depend on understanding the culture and structure and implementing appropriately and then course correcting as needed.
Have you ever witnessed or been party to circumstances where poor communications was a “best-practice?” Have ever had to deal with a leader who did not know how to effectively communicate their thoughts, vision, or expectations? How did that work out for them or for the team? Or, have you ever been guilty of either not speaking or listening carefully enough? How did that make the other people feel or behave? I would love to hear your stories!
Scott Span, MSOD is President of Tolero Solutions OD & Change Management firm
He helps clients be responsive, focused and effective to facilitate sustainable growth
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Image Sources: thatschurch.com, farm3.static.flickr.com
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