Tuesday, June 1, 2010

COMMUNICATE! - For Optimal Goal Attainment: An Extra Bit Of Work At The Beginning Can Prevent Lots of Wasted Time Later.

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Dear Friends:

To be an effective leader, you must be a skilled communicator. Giving orders that are either unclear or conflictory are very inefficient.

To be an effective implementer, contractor, employee or team member, you must also be a skilled communicator. If you misunderstand your role, responsibilities or priorities, you are doomed to fail at performing any task.

Communication between two individuals has several components, and none of them should be admitted in a business dialogue......and although it begins with the leader, the other party (i.e., the "initial listener") must, of necessity, participate:

1. The leader gives clear directives, the reason for them, and the end result that is expected to be accomplished;

2. The initial listener acknowledges by paraphrasing to the leader, what he or she believes he or she is to do. If the directives seem "out of sync" with the reason given for them, or the desired end result, NOW is the time to clarify points or make any observations as to any conflicts or possible means of improving efficiency. This acknowledgment gives the initial listener a chance to make suggestions, register concerns, and to let the leader know if he or she has been totally clear;

3. The leader either agrees, clarifies, or changes the directives to accommodate a suggestion made by the initial listener;

4. The leader sets up a schedule of times (throughout the process) to monitor and review the progress and process, to be certain that the work being performed is a) of proper quality and on schedule, and is b)  following the necessary trajectory to achieve the desired end result;

5. During the progress of the process, the initial listener should render feedback (assertively) to the leader in the event of any errors, anticipated problems, confusion, failure to meet a promised deadline or change in priorities due to changing or conflictory circumstances.

Frequent, candid communication is always crucial.

Clarity in communication (sometimes giving examples to demonstrate points) is always crucial.

Continuous feedback prevents veering "off-course, " stalling in the work effort, and compounding errors. 

If you have given a directive and there is silence from your initial listener, you have already begun to fail in your communications effort. Never take for granted that your listeners understand you unless they can paraphrase back to you (with vigor and enthusiam) what they are going to do.

***Oh, and listeners who depart your meeting to embark on their missions without any questions may not have any idea of what you want -- more likely, they are confused (and will work on a tentative, trial-and-error basis), have many questions (but are embarrassed to ask them), or are in a hurry to leave because they were bored by the encounter.


Douglas Castle

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