If you were to ask your coworkers, “What’s the number-one improvement we could make to enhance our workplace?” most often, the answer would be a unanimous vote for “better communication.” In fact, no one – including senior leadership – is surprised when employee surveys reveal this fact.
In response, organizations create posters, mugs, pens, and T-shirts to profess their philosophies, develop newsletters to share more information, hold town hall meetings to deliver the annual “state of the company” address, and send more and more e-mails.
These are all great ideas, especially for sharing and reinforcing information, and generally people feel more informed when these things are in place. But sometimes the information is inconsistent or conflicting, leaving people confused. At other times, the information is so plentiful it’s as if it’s being sprayed over the workforce from a fire hose, leaving people overwhelmed.
The crux of the matter is,when you ask people why they really think communication is poor in their organizations, they say it’s because they can’t speak openly with the person sitting next to them or down the hall. Their department doesn’t communicate with other departments, so they’re not working in tandem. And they’re avoiding tough discussions. They’re not having good collaborative conversations with one another.
At the end of the day, we’re all really searching for ways to have meaningful, productive, solutions-focused conversations with the people around us.
Try a new approach to a conversation with one of your teammates. Let us know how it goes!
After all, what have you got to lose?
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