Effective communication is critical to the success of any organization today. Executives and managers especially need to develop their communication skills in order to pass key messages along and influence others to act upon them.
While organizational communication has been discussed in multiple business books released today, authors tend to miss on why leaders don’t tend to communicate effectively in their organizations.
Peter Drucker the father of modern management has always stated that communication is what the listener does. Whether we believe that we have communicated effectively is irrelevant, it is on how the message is passed to the receiver.
Executives and managers commonly tell me: I communicate to everyone all the time. Shouldn’t my directs and peers know what we are striving to achieve? Isn’t reading the messages and posters on the wall good enough? I communicate quickly through e-mail, it’s efficient!
Notice the trend of these questions, they are all valid points. The problem is even though the points are valid; it does not mean they are effective. In every statement there is a nod towards the speed of communication; however, speed does not necessarily mean better.
A common model in engineering is the Project Triangle, and on it three different points: speed quality and cost. Normally launching a project you would pick two; for example, when building a house quickly and cheaply, you will lose quality. Or building a house of quality and cheaply, will not happen quickly and take more time. However, with communication the gap between “speed” and “cheap” is minimal white the gap between “quality” is massive.
Choosing the route of communicating quickly and “cheaply”; for example, throwing a note up on a bulletin board or posting posters across the hallways, results in an exponential decline in quality. We naturally retain more information if there is two-way communication, not with one-way communication that turns into visual “noise” at the office. Employees continue to miss meetings and deadlines, and managers wonder how they could if it was posted on the wall. Sometimes, managers will post more on the wall to get the message across clear. It is not a question of the message being clear, but the quality of the message.
Taking the time to reduce the speed, and increase the “cost” (minimal, the cost of an extra five minutes to vocally communicate to a direct or peer is nothing) will automatically result in an increase in quality of communication. As the “sender” of communication, the “receiver” will adapt as well, slowing down their time while adapting to the time you have and increasing their perception of what you are communicating. For managers and executives alike, the direction will come across not only clearly, but effectively as well.