Leadership is…

Leadership

The topic of leadership is more popular then ever!

According to our marketing partner, Preactive Marketing, the phrase “leadership is” has over 6 million global monthly searches.  This indicates there is a growing interest in the topic and in learning to become a better leader.

So, how would you finish the phrase leadership is

I would finish it something like this:

“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

Thanks for the words of wisdom Ike. Leaders can’t lead without followers – or as I like to call them – implementers and doers.

Creating a Leadership Model

So, how does a leader get someone to do something because he/she wants it done?

Transparency – Be transparent.

People can usually tell when “something is up.” So before the rumors begin flying and productivity is impacted, communicate with your employees.

When making strategic decisions, determining organizational changes, or facing issues that impact employees, successful leaders need to be transparent with their workforce about how these matters arose, their thought process for dealing with them, and how their solutions may directly impact those they lead.

Trust – Create a safe and trusting environment. 

Trust is a fundamental behavior for any relationship, both personal and professional. According to a study by the Hay Group, a global management consultancy, there are 75 key components of employee satisfaction (Lamb & McKee, 2009).

They found that:

Trust and confidence in top leadership was the single most reliable predictor of employee satisfaction in an organization.

Trust must be earned. Leaders can earn employee trust by helping employees understand the company’s overall business strategy, informing them how they contribute to achieving key business goals, and sharing information with employees on both how the company is doing and how an employee’s own performance is relative to organizational objectives.

It is much easier for employees to trust a leader that shows an interest in them.

Self-Awareness – Be self-aware.

Successful leaders have a heightened level of self-awareness, they have an understanding of themselves, their behaviors and actions, and how those behaviors and actions are interpreted by, and directly impact, employees.

A good example of leadership self-awareness is exhibited in the U.S. Army’s leadership philosophy of “be, know, do.”

  • Be proficient and competent
  • Know yourself and your strengths and weaknesses
  • Do take responsibility and lead by example

Always be open to further growth and learning. Professional coaching is also a great well to help further develop leader self-awareness.

You see…leadership is a facet of business that is imperative to succeeding.

“The quality of leadership, more than any other single factor, determines the success or failure of an organization.” ~Fred Fiedler & Martin Chemers

So be a quality leader – one who people trust, respect, and want to follow!

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

——————
Scott Span
, MSOD
 is President of Tolero Solutions OD & Change Management firm
He helps clients be responsive, focused, and effective to facilitate sustainable growth
Email | Website | LinkedIn | Twitter | Blog | Facebook

Image Sources: donnacicotte.com

Goal Setting for Leaders: Why Bother?

GoalsThe topic of goals and objectives arises frequently at the end of any year. And by March, many people have given up on them.

  • Have you already stopped trying to achieve the New Year’s resolution that you set late last year?
  • Or did you not even bother to write down your goals for 2012 knowing that you wouldn’t even make it until March?

Many successful organizations (and individuals) are well into their new strategies and are busy executing their plans for this year. Are you there with them? Hopefully you are, and if you aren’t, well – you may want to add goal-setting to your ‘to do’ list.

“Goals allow you to control the direction of change in your favor.” ~Brian Tracy

Defining Goals

So what are goals and why are they important?

  • A goal represents the “to be” state, not the action of getting to that state
  • Goals are the most important outcomes that need to be accomplished to achieve and maintain the vision of the organization
  • Goals are derived from the vision statement and must be addressed through the objectives of the organization and establish the long-term direction for the work within the organization

In short, goals are the desired end result.

Target

As Stephen Covey says, it helps to “Begin with the end in mind.”

Goals should also decide the results that are wanted/needed and set a time frame for achieving results. Most importantly, goals must build in accountability and consequences for not achieving them.

Performance measures are the best indicators of success in achieving goals and outcomes; they should be relevant and practical.

Measuring Goals

It helps to ask…do the goals:

  • Address improvements in performance of mission?
  • Address individual improvements in performance?
  • Tie to the strategic objectives?
  • Capture the requirements of external and internal customers?
  • Emphasize the critical aspects of the organization?

Most leaders know that an effective strategic plan must contain measurable high-level goals and objectives, though goals should not only be high-level organizational in nature. They should also be in place for each contributor.

Individual and Organizational Goals

I am often asked this question by leaders who have a developed strategy:

“Why do my people need their own goals – we already have high level strategic organizational goals they are expected to meet?”

My reply is this:

“Goals tell you as an organization where you want to be and what you want to achieve – they do the same for your people.”

Employees must have goals and objectives, not only to help support the organization in achieving its strategy, but also to see how the actions they take in executing their roles and responsibilities directly contribute to the broader organization mission and vision.

In developing organizational and employee goals, it is important to ask this:

“Are we measuring the right things?”

Goal Alignment

Program, departmental and individual employee goals should align to and support organizational goals and objectives. If the workforce cannot see themselves and their actions in strategic goals, then your organizational goals aren’t as likely to succeed.

Remember this: Personal goals, incentives, and competencies should be aligned with the strategy.

Without individual goals tied to specific roles and performance, it is difficult for employees to gauge the impact they are making through their work.

It is also more difficult for them to see the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) for achieving high performance – without goals, it proves difficult to measure, evaluate and reward individual performance.

 “My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose – somehow we win out.” – Ronald Reagan

Goals and ObjecivesOn Communication and Goals

Clear communication of goals and priorities is necessary for people to see how their goals are contributing to organizational success and why they are being measured and evaluated against them.

That creates a win/win for both the employee and the organization.

For goals to truly increase accountability, they should include baselines. Baselines are time-lagged calculations which provide a basis for making comparisons of past performance to current performance.

A baseline may also be forward-looking, such as when you establish a goal and are seeking to determine whether the trends show you’re likely to meet that goal.

Measuring performance at a specific time establishes a baseline and provides the starting point for setting goals and evaluating future efforts and overall performance.

Getting Started with Goals

Several questions to ask when developing and defining goals: 

  • Does the goal support the mission?
  • Does the goal represent a desired result that can be measured?
  • Does the goal reflect a primary activity, a strategic direction, a strategic issue or a gap in service?
  • Is the goal challenging, but still realistic and achievable?
  • Is there at least one key goal for each program/sub-program, but not more than can be reasonably managed?
  • Is the goal important to management?
  • Is the goal important to the employee?
  • Is the goal important to customers and stakeholders?

On Goals, Journeys, and Milestones

Just as your final destination is important to your journey, your goals are important to your business and your people.

Goals define your destination and shape what your business will become.

So, as you and your organization dive deeper into your objectives this year, give some thought to where you want to be, how are going to get there, and how you’re going to measure success.

Set goals early and take one step closer to being set for success in all year!

After all:

If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.”   ~Yogi Berra

So have you already given up on New  Year’s resolutions that you set just two months ago? Or are you progressing toward your goals and making headway. What kind of milestones and road markers do you have in place so that you can measure your progress toward your goals? I would love to hear your thoughts!

**********

Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today.
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

——————
Scott Span
, MSOD
 is President of Tolero Solutions OD & Change Management firm
He helps clients be responsive, focused, and effective to facilitate sustainable growth
Email | Website | LinkedIn | Twitter | Blog | Facebook

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Generation “Y” Employment: The Candidate Perspective

Generation Y

Today, employment ads from recruiters and HR generalists are on the rise despite the current economic woes canvasing the nation. This is a good sign that the economy is starting to gradually improve in some areas.

As Generation Y (“Gen Y“) job candidates are an ever-growing part of the applicant pool for employment openings at corporations, companies may need to re-evaluate their Gen Y recruiting strategies to meet workforce demands.

Hasty Makes Wastey

Recruiting today seems to be a rush-job. And it usually looks takes a one-size-fits-all approach toward sizing up talent. To fulfill the open employment requisition, recruiters get a position description and scour the internet for a match. Recruiters find a CV (resume) that matches the position description and then simply send an often-canned, cold and generic email.

With this type of lackadaisical approach to finding talent, recruiting today has become less and less personalized.

Many companies do not embrace a diverse recruiting strategy that mirrors the current diverse pool of applicants. This approach is not always the best means to attract certain qualified talent, particularly Gen Y talent. I’ve seen minimal use of cross-generational recruiting because of the lack of a recruiting strategy and approach based on different demographics.

A Baby Boomer will not respond to the same style and approach of recruiting as a Gen-Y’er.

A Customized Approach

Generations view things differently and thus expect different ways of being recruited. With an ever-changing and more diverse workforce, recruiting must become more unique and customized if organizations wish to attract the best possible Gen Y talent.

So how do you properly hire and retain Gen Y talent?

The Right Steps

In order to get the best talent from the Gen y talent pool, follow these steps to make sure you are taking the appropriate approach to connecting in a manner that serves you and your candidates best.

First Contact

Gen Y values a personalized touch. A canned and generic email will often turn them off immediately to a potential new position. If sending an email inquiry to a potential Gen Y candidate, use their name, not “dear candidate.” Take the time to discuss why you think they may be a fit for the role as it relates to their own experience.

This lets them know you have actually reviewed their CV and job goals and not just mass emailed based on a keyword search. Gen Y also values details, so for the quickest possible response, include the job description, and why you see them as a fit in the first correspondence.

Response

Gen Y is a tech-savvy generation. If first contact regarding a possible new role peaks their interest, they waste no time in responding. They utilize the technology at their finger tips (WiFi, Blackberry email etc.) to promptly express interest.

They expect the same in return.

If your organization has high interest in the candidate, then don’t let communication lapse. Respond proactively, promptly, and personalized with establish next steps.

Expectations

Once the time for the first conversation has been set, use that time to set clear expectations with the potential Gen Y candidate. Take the time to explain in detail what they can expect in the new role and from the organization, and what would be expected of them. Be congruent, honest, and transparent about everything from salary and work life balance, to culture and roles and responsibilities.

Gen Y is very tuned into organizational culture.

One of the main reasons Gen Y talent tends to leave an organization within the first year is because what they were told they can expect is not the reality. Try and prevent this from the first conversation.

Interviewing

Be prepared for Gen Y to ask detailed questions regarding not just the potential role but the organization overall. Gen Y views interviewing as a two-way process. Often recruiters don’t have the specific information required to answer certain questions.

If this is the case, make sure the people the candidate interviews with are knowledgeable of the various parts of the organization and can answer specific questions.

Offer

If the process leads to making a job offer, then do not only do so in writing, but also make the personalized phone call. This call should come from the person who will be the candidate’s direct supervisor. Often disconnects exist between recruiting and the actual departments and managers who the employee will be working with.

Gen Y values open and honest communication in all directions.

Having the opportunity to speak directly with the individual they will be reporting to offers them the opportunity to begin to build a relationship immediately and get any last-minute questions and concerns addressed.

After the offer is accepted, the next step is a process called on-boarding, but it doesn’t end there. Recruitment is phase one, once the employee joins the organization focus must be placed on engagement and retention – success is an ongoing cycle.

**********

Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today.
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

——————
Scott Span
, MSOD
 is President of Tolero Solutions OD & Change Management firm
He helps clients be responsive, focused, and effective to facilitate sustainable growth
Email | Website | LinkedIn | Twitter | Blog | Facebook

Image Sources: media.photobucket.com

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Obama Jobs Speech: Real Life Leadership Lessons

Jobless AmericaReal life leadership lesson: Be transparent, congruent, and authentic to yourself and to those you lead!

[To Be ClearI am wearing my organization development (OD) practitioner hat here. This is a non-partisan analysis of a real-life event to highlight what I believe are imperative traits of successful leadership; transparency, congruence, and authenticity!]

Leadership Ain’t Easy 

After watching Obama’s recent jobs speech, a thought struck me – leadership isn’t easy!

President ObamaDon’t get me wrong, as an organization development practitioner, leadership development and coaching is part of my work, and an area that can often be difficult for my clients.

However, the very public scrutiny of how high-profile figures, such as Obama, handle leadership difficulties seems to be more in public view and debate than ever before.

The public debate seems to be is Obama a “wimp” or isn’t he, though to me that’s not the real issue. The real issue is focused around perceived leadership traits.

People now see, hear, act, and react to information faster than ever before.

Speed of Digital

In this digital age of instant information, timing, transparency, congruence, and authenticity are more important than ever if leaders expect the support of their followers (or constituents).

As Kathleen Parker mentioned in the Sunday Washington Post regarding Obama’s jobs speech,

“Obama tried to unite the nation with his purple rhetoric, but he missed his window when it came time to act. The jobs speech he gave Thursday night was 2 ½-years late, and the health-care reform bill he pushed through against a tide of opposition was a calamity of bad timing.”

I saw the timing and tone of the speech to be long overdue and the authenticity of some of the content to be based more on a sense of urgency than on actions and ideas that can really benefit those he leads.  Politics aside, from an OD perspective, I couldn’t help but think “…yes, his timing was way off,  but I think there is more than the issue of timing!”

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Authenticity

If Obama had been authentic to himself and to his followers, and not caught up in political mumbo-jumbo (yes I know he is a politician…), given the tension and the divide of his followers (We the People), this issue would have been a topic addressed long ago in a timely and transparent manner.

Bossy Boss

Obama’s transparency shined through, but it was a transparency of frustration with the system in which he must operate as a leader, and less a transparency of genuine concern.

And the interesting thing I found is that I do think, as a leader, he has concern for his followers.

All leaders have to operate in political systems, not just politicians. Though sometimes difficult to maintain a balance between personal and systemic authenticity and transparency, maintaining that balance is a vital skill to successful leadership.

The article went on to say this:

“Instead of commanding, Obama seemed bossy. Rather than inspiring, he came across as hectoring. This is partly because Obama was trying to be something he’s not. He is not a pot-banging politician but reflective and cautious. Rather than quell the emotional disarray born of fear and resentment, he pounded the drum of class warfare. He shouldn’t expect to see white flags in response.”

I agree.

Leading In Sync

Keeping my OD hat on, I would say that he was incongruent! That is, what he was saying was not in sync with his feelings and thinking, he came across as not being his authentic self and it showed!

To truly inspire people they lead, leaders must be authentic and congruent, if they fail to do so their people will notice and they may not only lose respect but also lose their following – and in today’s digital age they may lose it faster than ever before.

 “We believe in our people and we believe in trying to inspire them. To me that’s the start of leadership” ~ Joe Paterno, Penn State Football Coach

 

 

**********

 

Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today.
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

——————–
Scott Span, MSOD
 is President of Tolero Solutions OD & Change Management firm
He helps clients be responsive, focused and effective to facilitate sustainable growth
Email | Website | LinkedIn | Twitter | Blog | Facebook

Image Sources: farm6.static.flickr.com, arthhopenetwork.net

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Economic Leadership Development: Is O.D. the Rx?

OD Jumpstart

To jump-start the US economy, is an “Organizational Development Intervention” needed?

A recent US Senate hearing on the recruitment and hiring of college graduates made it clear that the Senators as well as the panelists from government and academia faced difficult questions about the future of the  workforce  and the dismal U.S. economy.

The harsh reality is that the marketplace is not producing enough jobs for college grads.

“In today’s economy, many students are graduating only to find that they are locked out because the marketplace is not producing enough jobs. At the same time, federal jobs in science, national security and medicine are difficult to fill. We must develop innovative strategies to bridge this gap.” 

~Senator Daniel K. Akaka, Hawaii Democrat and chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management

Negative Effects

The recession of 2007-2009 caused huge layoffs and some early retirements in the federal workforce. The current economy has resulted in heavier work-loads for employees left holding down the fort – as I’m sure many of you have witnessed firsthand According to a recent report from Mercer 2, an outplacement and consulting firm, the snail’s pace growth in the job market means workers are reluctant to leave jobs, even if they are overworkedunhappy and not focused on their employer’s success.

Even though they stay, stagnant wages and slow company growth is creating low employee morale. This has an overall negative effect on company revenue and customer service.

How to Produce Growth

It's About People

So what can be done to inspire employees and job seekers in both the public and private sector, to increase employee morale and produce economic growth that can yield enough jobs for everyone including college graduates?

How can America’s largest companies and the federal government work together to improve everyone’s bottom-line?

The answer is an organizational development intervention.”

An organizational intervention is not just a fancy name for “let’s pay a consultant to make our employees happy.” An organizational intervention is a conceptual, organization-wide effort to increase an organization’s effectiveness and viability.

Responding to Change

These interventions are usually a response to change.  They consist of strategies intended to change the beliefs, attitudes, values, and structure of an organization so that it can better adapt to new technologies, markets, challenges, and the dizzying rate of change itself.

OD interventions, if properly designed and deployed, contain a set of processes designed to bring about a particular kind of result. Though some federal government agencies and private sector companies may utilize some organizational development principles, they rarely take the time needed to establish customized people development strategies or to go deep enough to create lasting change that can foster exponential growth.

Organizational Health

What, where, when?To increase organizational health, engagement and productivity and spur organizational growth, what is really needed is to conduct an “organizational development intervention.”

In considering organizational development intervention strategies for my clients I often include several concepts to which I have found to be successful adapted from Richard Beckhard’s Addison-Wesley Organization Development Series.

The Prescription

  • Customization

Organizations are like fingerprints, no two organizations are the same, no two cultures are the same, and thus organizational development strategies are not a one size fits all. The strategies must be customized to fit the particular organization and circumstances

  • Leadership commitment

Any intervention or change strategy requires a committed sponsor and champion. Leadership must be committed to the outcome and communicate their commitment throughout the organization to achieve successful desired results.

  • Follow through

Organizational interventions cannot be a one off event. For improvement strategies to be a success they must be followed through to the fullest extent; both by those leading the efforts and those impacted by the intervention strategies.

  • Course correction

Success doesn’t happen overnight. The first organizational intervention may not always succeed how it was planned. It is imperative to get feedback from those throughout the impacted groups and change direction, tweak the approach and course correct as needed.

Focusing on these strategies will help guide an organization to individual and organizational success and lead to increased employee and customer satisfaction and financial growth.

The Bottom-Line: Effectiveness

The System

Any one of these strategies can be used to improve the effectiveness of people and teams.

When combined with other organizational intervention strategies they can also synergistically produce a positive effect on the organization.  Enthusiastic employees are more likely to be committed to their organizations.

Committed employees are more likely to deliver satisfaction to customers, which leads to increased revenues, which leads to more consumer spending, which leads to improvement in theU.S. economy which … well you get the idea.

Perhaps Senator Akaka and his panel of experts should consider organizational development interventions as part of their innovative strategies to help attract, retain, and engage the current and next generation of workers; as the ability to do so will help positively bolster the US economy.

——————–
Scott Span, MSOD is President of Tolero Solutions OD & Change Management firm
He helps clients be responsive, focused, and effective to facilitate sustainable growth

Email | Website | LinkedIn | Twitter | Blog | Facebook

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Leadership Clarity: Can They See You Now?

Clarity

Though it seems a clichéd notion improving your company culture starts at the top, you have to lead by example.

Is what you say what they see?

To make sure, just lead by example to improve your organizational culture.

Be Somebody Real

If you’re a leader who promotes a company culture of “do what I say, not what I do” your company probably won’t be a happy place for your employees.

Comedian Lily Tomlin once said this:

“I’ve always wanted to be somebody, but I see now I should have been more specific.”

Being a  leader of  a successful organization with engaged employees and happy customers is definitely being somebody specific. So, how do you become the type leader your employees will want to work for and your customers will want to do business with?

It takes some leadership skills, a dash of self-awareness, and a little luck bit of luck.

Leading Like a Leader

Research suggests that your people will not go above and beyond the call of duty at work unless they first see you “busting butt.”

A recently published study in the Journal of Applied Psychology points out that the best way to encourage the behaviors you want from your employees or those you manage is to lead by example, let them see you practicing the behaviors  you want them to exhibit.

As a leader, creating a positive company culture is a part of your job description.

Ethical, innovative, and transparent leadership helps create a culture that encourages employees to be at their best. It also encourages employees to be creative in ways that can boost your bottom-line and to be loyal when it comes to sticking around.

But remember, if you want them to share views of the bottom-line, you have to create a company culture that offers them “a piece of the organizational pie.”  Building a productive company “pie” can often be achieved through a culture of sharing, collaboration, connection and creativity.

Additional “fillings and toppings” can be added to taste.

Basic Training

Let’s review some basic ingredients:

As you might expect, a positive culture is founded on more than just paid lunches, personalized parking spaces, or free gym memberships.

According to Dr. Ralph G. Nichols, a pioneer in the study and teaching of listening, “the most basic of all human needs is to understand and to be understood.”  Clear, concise and transparent communications are aspects of successful leadership.

Great leaders make great efforts to understand what is important to others.

Listening to, and talking with, employees to find out what you both expect will help clarify expectations for your staff, and in turn, will help you learn what motivates them. It also sends a message that collaboration and communication are important factors in the success of the organization.

This effort to understand others opens the door to strong communication between leadership and the company’s biggest asset – its employees. This two-way flow of communication and information sharing will help build a culture of trust, an imperative to a positive organizational culture.

Listening to find out what motivates employees is the first step a leader can take to develop a positive company culture.

Be the “Action Hero”

Once you’ve taken the time to listen to, and hopefully seek to understand what your employees are saying, it’s time to conduct some follow-up actions. To begin, create an action plan to improve the workplace based on employee feedback. Taking action is important – it shows employees that you respect their ideas and that you take them seriously.

Remember that employees generally are committed to their jobs and want to succeed, though often they may feel leadership doesn’t support them in doing so, thus it is important for their voices to be heard and to follow-up with actions based on their feedback.

In taking action, set yourself up for success. Quick wins are always a great place to start. Rather than considering every idea that you’ve heard and feeling overwhelmed, try moving forward on one or two of the ideas that you know you can implement well, and implement quickly.

Save the remaining ideas on a prioritized wish list to revisit with employees.

Make sure you act on the concepts within a reasonable timeframe for you and the company. Listening to employees and taking action will inevitably lead to a positive culture, better employee engagement – and most importantly – improved bottom-line.

Accentuate and Articulate

Too often, leaders assume employees have awareness and understanding of the reasons behind business tactics and strategic and organizational changes – when in fact they do not. A clear and concise mission, vision and strategy must exist.

These things must be accompanied with frequent communications about processes, policies and procedures, and articulation of how employees’ day-to-day work plays a part in accomplishing organizational goals.

Employees need to understand the big picture and the role they play in achieving organizational success and improving the culture.

The more collaborative the culture and more frequent the communications, the more effective the outcomes.

Employees often think – “what’s in it for me?” Collaboration, feedback, transparent communication, and follow through on engagement actions are all activities that help to answer this question. This also helps employees feel they have a personal stake in the company which helps meet organizational goals and create a positive culture.

Collaborate and Cooperate

We all know the adage, no man (or women) is an island… Well this holds true for leaders as well.

An individual or a select few, regardless of level in the organization – cannot create a successful company alone.  Culture change that leads to an organization’s success is a process of give and take by various members of the team – with the leader serving as the guide.

Everyone in the group responsible for achieving the goals should be involved in some capacity in formalizing strategic direction, developing solid processes and procedures, and implementing metrics to measure success. When employees are engaged in working on meaningful ways to achieve success it’s a good time to grow, deepen, and further develop collaboration and innovation.

Give employees room to follow through with their ideas while remaining in a positive supporting role, acting as a guide who helps put their creativity to best use. It’s also important that employees understand what perks and benefits they’ll enjoy as a result of their efforts.

Collaboration and discussion of tangible ways of putting ideas into action, and then holding yourself and the team accountable for achieving set goals, is imperative to creating a successful organization with a positive culture.

Direction + Communication + Collaboration + Follow Through = Success!

Successful companies are places where frequent and transparent communication occurs, where employees’ ideas are heard, where creativity and innovation are encouraged and where leadership is approachable and accountable.

You will know your company culture is creating a positive effect when your employees are not only following your lead, but are remaining engaged and trying out new ideas and meeting or exceeding your expectations.

Take the lead, be the inspiration and reap the rewards of being the person you want your employees to be!

——————–
Scott Span, MSOD is President of Tolero Solutions OD & Change Management firm
He helps clients be responsive, focused, and effective to facilitate sustainable growth

Email | Website | LinkedIn | Twitter | Blog | Facebook

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Repairing Workplace Lines of Communication

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?”

Communication Breakdown

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…

  • How do we improve internal communications?
  • What has worked well at other organizations?
  • 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!

    Bookmark Repairing Workplace Lines of Communication

    ——————–
    Scott Span, MSOD is President of Tolero Solutions OD & Change Management firm
    He helps clients be responsive, focused and effective to facilitate sustainable growth

    Email | Website | LinkedIn | Twitter | Blog

    Image Sources: thatschurch.com, farm3.static.flickr.com

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