Imagine that your organization is struggling. You’re not meeting goals. The atmosphere is tense. Everything seems harder than it should be.
You’re a smart manager. You realize you need help. After searching around a bit, you find my name and give me a call. You tell me your tale of woe and ask if I can help you figure out what’s going on and what you should do about it.
Communication needs to be a core competency
I accept your invitation because I already know one major problem you need to address. It’s communication. Trust me. After working with hundreds of struggling organizations, they all had communication problems.
The funny thing is that many managers roll their eyes when I suggest we start with communication. They think communication is a soft skill, i.e., something that isn’t directly related to achieving their goals.
I disagree. Unless one employee is solely responsible for delivering all the value to your customers, success comes from coordinating the efforts of many employees. Coordination is all about communication.
How’s that communication thing working for your organization?
Let’s suppose I send a survey to your employees with 29 statements that should be true in an organization that has mastered communication. But because the answers aren’t always cut and dry, I allow them a 5-point scale they can use to rate each statement:
5 – Almost always
4 – Usually
3 – About half the time
2 – Occasionally
1 – Almost never
How will your organization come out on this? Rather than totally guessing, perhaps you can rate the statements yourself. After all, you’re an employee too, right?
- I know the company’s mission.
- I know how my department contributes to the mission.
- I know how my work contributes to the mission.
- I can apply the organization’s values to my work.
- I know the company’s top goals.
- I know my department’s top goals.
- I know my individual work goals.
- I know how the company is performing on all major goals.
- I know how my department is performing on all major goals.
- I know what I’m supposed to do for my job.
- I know what all my teammates are supposed to do for their jobs.
- I know today’s priorities.
- I understand what my authority is.
- I have the information I need to do my job.
- I share the information others need to do their jobs.
- I know how well I’m doing my job.
- I know my areas for development.
- I know what my manager most appreciates about me.
- I know where to get questions answered.
- When I have a question, I ask it to the person who can answer it.
- When I have a concern or objection, I voice it to the right person.
- I provide coworkers with feedback.
- When I have an idea, I offer it.
- I let others know what I expect of them.
- I’m willing to have tough conversations.
- I end conversations only after I fully understand the other person’s point of view.
- I know about major changes that are in the works.
- I feel like I’m in the loop on all major organizational news.
- I believe my opinions matter.
A gigantic opportunity
Master communication in your organization first. It will help you in so many ways:
- Faster, better decisions
- Problem solving
- Flexibility and adaptability
All your organizational effectiveness improvements flow from addressing this one competency. Seize the opportunity.