It’s true for teams. It’s true for organizations. It’s even true in marriages. Communication is an ongoing struggle for all of us. Over the past five years, I have had the opportunity to work with a variety of organizations through team building, leadership training and strategic planning initiatives. As we discuss the strengths of each organization or team, the need to communicate more effectively ALWAYS surfaces as a strong need within the organization.
Why is it so hard? Why can we predict that EVERY organization could improve its communication strategies? It seems so simple and yet proves to be elusive in virtually every organization. There are many theories out there about why it is so hard to communicate. Here’s a few thoughts that I have on this topic.
- Communication takes time – Effective communication is important, but it is not urgent. You don’t have to do it today and you probably don’t have to do it tomorrow. But if you don’t do it at all or do it poorly it will result in significant issues in your organization or team. That’s why you need to develop a rhythm to communicate with your folks. Some of the best examples I’ve seen are weekly meetings where teams can check in and share current information that benefits everyone. What is your communication plan? If it isn’t on the calendar – it may not get done!
- Communication produces problems – The best communication is two-way communication. That means you will get a response to your communication – and yes sometimes that response is not what you want to hear. Productive communication uncovers problems that could create a challenge for you. However, if you don’t allow the problems to surface now – they will surface later. Be prepared for some challenges when you communicate with your team but look at them as OPPORTUNITIES rather than OBSTACLES.
- Communication requires patience – Communication tends to slow everything down. When you communicate you get responses and those responses often result in delays on your original progress plan. If you adopt the “go slow to go fast” philosophy, you recognize that moving a bit slower often times results in better decisions.
Communication is important in marriage, families and organizations. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it well. Like everything else, carving out the time to communicate will make every part of your organization be more effective and efficient. Go forth and communicate!!