A fellow consultant once told me about a meeting with an organization’s top leader. She asked the leader if he thought he communicated enough within his organization. He said, emphatically, “Yes!” She replied, “However much you think you’re communicating; double it. Then double it again!”
This may seem audacious, but in 99.9% of organizations, it’s equally applicable.
Communication is the lifeblood of effective organizations. Effective communication reinforces the Mission, Values, Vision, and Goals. It reminds people what the expectations are or clarifies new ones. It develops an understanding of the opportunities and challenges employees are running into and clears the path for how to proceed. It gives people a chance to provide feedback, be coached, learn, grow, and improve.
Communication is everything, and most leaders in most organizations do not communicate enough. That is worth repeating: most leaders in most organizations do not communicate enough.
Leaders see the organization from a unique 50,000 ft. level. No one else has this view. If you can see everything, broadly speaking, you have a greater knowledge of everything. Things seem crystal clear and obvious from that perspective.
Most employees, even most leadership team members, have a ground-level view of one tree. That’s how they see the organization. They do not know, understand, or in some cases be able to comprehend the leader’s all-encompassing view. So, the leader must explain what s/he sees. The only way to do this is through regular, frequent, redundant, proactive communication.
A leader is a conduit for the flow of information. Into and out of his or her office. All day every day. Receiving, giving, assimilating, and sharing information. The leader’s only real technical tool is communication.
The leader who fails to embrace the responsibility to communicate thoroughly and frequently will lead a failing team. No exceptions. If people don’t understand what they’re expected to do, they’ll figure it out. Usually in unfocused, nonproductive ways.
If you want to improve your team’s performance and your organization’s outcomes, increase your communication. Double it, and then double it again!
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