This is a further article in my series looking at fundamental areas of business. Whether I work with small businesses or global corporations and no matter where in the world, there are themes that emerge as difficult for everyone. I also work and volunteer in the charity sector and I find these challenges there as well. So no one is immune!
Today’s topic is communications. Not the mechanics of communications – that can be learned through training, but rather why they are so important. First and foremost, we are social beings and we accomplish so much in life and business in collaboration with others. Sometimes everyone is on the same page and goals are easily achieved. But that’s not as common as we’d like it to be so it’s vitally important that you and your team know how to communicate effectively to get everyone on the same page and pointing in the same direction.
The impact on managers
Most of the problems I encountered as a manager were to do with communications. Someone hadn’t communicated something critical to someone else. Or they had communicated it ambiguously. Or they’d communicated but the information hadn’t been received and understood. “No, sorry, I didn’t see that email.”
Today’s businesses can communicate internally and externally in more ways than ever before. Person-to-person, telephone calls, letters, through emails, website, social media, and so on. But no matter what method of communication is chosen, it only works if it’s done effectively. There’s an important principle that it would do well for us all to adopt.
The meaning of your communication is the response you get
This statement is a presupposition of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). A presupposition is a belief, assumption or universal truth. NLP is a topic well worth researching if you’re interested in what makes people tick and I highly recommend it. I am a Practitioner of NLP and it’s an incredibly valuable set of tools for anyone.
What this presupposition says to is that if they did it wrong after you’d asked them, it’s generally not because they are silly, it’s because you didn’t communicate it effectively. That premise holds particularly true when managing a team but it’s also true between departments and everyone your company communicates with – your customers, your suppliers, your advisors and your partners.
How to win time
Have you ever met a manager who doesn’t want more time? Have you ever wanted more time? Yes, is the universal answer from everyone in business for that question! This could so easily be achieved by teams communicating effectively so that issues don’t occur in the first place and when, or if, an issue does occur, it can often be effectively and efficiently resolved. Imagine if teams had great working relationships fostered though good and frequent communications. By proactively and habitually sharing information, things would run more smoothly, people would get less frustrated, your customers would be better served, the list goes on. All characteristics of well-oiled and effective organisations.
Here’s a closing thought. I can’t find the source of this quote which is a shame because it’s so apt. “It’s often not what you say, but how you say it that matters most.”