Monday, December 7, 2009

Excellence in Execution without Excellence in Communications? I Don't Think So!

If the execution of your business strategy requires more than one person then you will need excellence in communications. Here are a couple of things to consider.

Internal Initiatives Require Constant Communication

The CEO of a Major Distributor and a previous mentor of mine told me that whenever he was embarking on major change in his organization he knew he needed to communicate 50 times before people would fully embrace it. I would add that if they are sales people, you might need to communicate 55 times. Think about how many times you either communicate or receive communications at work. Start a counter or print the image above and cross off one "communicate" each time. I suspect your successful initiatives will reach 50 and those that fall short on execution don't measure up on the communicate counter.

Different People Require Different Modes of Communication
Some people love the face to face meeting while other abhor it. Younger workers can readily multitask, texting away on their phones, instant messaging on their computers, all the while working away on that spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation. They might even look up to acknowledge you when you walk in their cube.

Other people have different communication preferences and habits. One consultant told me that she made people at a client company uncomfortable because she preferred to know who she was working with. She would show up at peoples offices or meet them for hall walks between meetings to put the name to the face. Recipients of her face-to-face meetings found this uncomfortable. They had a youthful highly technical culture that hid behind there computers and lacked emotion. This feeling was and is evident in this company's products today, something my colleague is hoping to change.

Different people have different communication defaults - phone, email, face-to-face, instant messaging, text, or telepathy. Problem is that these defaults are not always constructive for all contexts. For example, if you are having a misunderstanding (probably a miscommunication) with somebody, rather than sending yet another email, perhaps the best thing is to get out of your chair and have a face-to-face meeting. Know your default and change it up a bit from time to time. You will benefit yourself and those around you.

If you have a practical communication tip that helps with execution please comment or send me an email.

1 comment:

Skip Reardon said...

See my post on this topic at