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Communication: What Are You Not Saying?

By Burk Moreland April 22, 2015

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Continuing on with the series, 7 Easy Ways to Kill Your Business. Here’s a good one, make communication everyone else’s responsibility and you’re sure to see things tank. 

Take a minute to sit with this statement: “Communication is the responsibility of the person that the end result is most important to.” 

One of my early mentors, Mike Humphrey, with David Weekley Homes, taught me that statement. It took me a little while to really see the importance and depth of what it meant (he might even tell you a little too long to figure it out), but I use it more now with clients than almost any other phrase. 

Everyone knows how important communication is.  It affects every aspect of our lives.  In business, it impacts customer service, team interactions, sales, performance, etc.  It’s at the root of all of our successes, and our failures.  

Consider these scenarios

Scenario 1: When it comes to communicating updates to a client on the progress of a job, who is that more important to, the client or the project manager? Your first thought might be the client, right? 

But given that the promise of the project deliverables are from the company TO the client, the communication should be sourced by the project manager. Then why do I see multiple requests from the customer to the project manager for status reports? 

By not driving the communication, the project manager is now in a reactive, defensive mode vs. a proactive one. This usually leaves both the client and the project manager frustrated.

It is vital to the project manager to take control of the communications, ensuring that the client feels taken care of, and allowing for trust and rapport in the partnership. 

Scenario 2: Who is it more important to, the team member or the manager, that expectations of job performance be discussed? Again, you might think the team member, right? 

But again, given that it is the manager’s responsibility to empower their people, the communication should be sourced by the manager. The lack of clarity around acceptable performance in team members is because of a lack of communication. They lack clear goals and measurements to know what is expected. This leads to general poor performance and frustration, which leads to losing team members and overall poor team results. 

It is vital to the manager to be sure he/she is very clear on what they expect and to communicate that so team members have a clear understanding and can strive to perform to that level. 

Take time to revisit challenges that your company is facing and look at them through the lens of being responsible for communication. 

Ask yourself: Did we communicate early enough, and clearly, to mitigate multiple requests from our customers? Are there any gaps in our communication? Where do we keep getting asked questions that could be handled differently in the future? 

If the result of your interactions being positive and powerful is important to you, take ownership and drive the conversation. If you send an email and get no reply, call and make sure they got it. If you call and get no answer, go visit them and check in. Communication is something that can not wait in most instances. We live in an age of instant gratification. It is no longer the pony express. Deal with whatever you need to deal with quickly and then you can move on. “The longer it sits, the worse it gets.” If your results are important to your success, make sure communication is a top priority

The results you want are out there, let me help you find them. 

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