The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.
In the business domain it can be considered the individuals ability to get along with others while getting the job done, and includes everything from communicating, active listening, attitude and deportment
Knowledge (Theories, Ideas & Concepts)
Through Professional/Personal Study Gained Through Experience
To lead others, managers need to demonstrate effective communication skills to provide credibility to implement the company objectives by galvanising the employees behind them. This is achieved through systematic planning, implementing, monitoring and then modifying the channels and methods of communication within and between organisations
With the advent of more and more complex ICT and knowledge systems, there is a danger of information overload and missing the key elements of the message. Managers need to review the information flows and needs, format, frequency, roles and responsibilities of the end to end process from strategy down to daily requirements
As more information is displayed through dashboards, meetings, reviews, amalgamated reporting methods and other business transactions, it is critical that everyone is working off the same taxonomy, same understanding of terms, use of meta-data and use of appropriate tools and techniques
Skills & Application of Knowledge in Real World Situations
Together with Responsibilities/Accountabilities
“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do” (Henry Ford). Communication is thinking you can and then thinking it through using your collective knowledge, gaining buy-in/support/resources, coming together to execute the vision, the ability of keeping together to make progress, learning from your experience and your mistakes, and finally working together to achieve success. As a leader this is what you need to do everyday.
As the Experimentation Programme Manager it was essential that I was able to ask the right questions, articulate visions in clearly understood blocks, report progress, recommend gap closure options and set priorities when dealing with multiple concurrent stakeholders.
Helping senior management to undertake carefully structured, Lean Gemba walks making sure they observe, engage and then improve by asking the right questions, pausing long enough to get the right answer, and finally to report and put into action the necessary remediation. Running a Tiger Team in order to undertake root cause analysis on a manufacturing tooling issue that was causing quality problems identified several improvements.
People may not be able to express their ideas and views clearly, confidently and concisely in speech (especially when the audience is multi-lingual or in a finite time period), so the use of visual communication systems (dashboards, charts, metrics, imagery, diagrams, illustrations, graphic designs) can help people enormously in the communication of complexity
Mastering non-verbal communications (non-verbal signals, eye contact, gestures, body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, personal appearances, handshake, cultural anomalies) and then finding out what what types resonate with the other parties, because different people will place different emphasis on different aspects. Assessing real world environments and adapting accordingly are essential life skills.
Delivering the message is only half of the answer. Empathically listening, being tactful and simultaneously making an effort to appreciate other people’s points of view help to arrive at a shared understanding, creating high-quality connections from where a mutually agreeable launch point can be established. When there is a elephant in the corner of the room, the answer is invariably in the middle of the table between the two parties.
Selected Achievements & Successes
Together with Any ‘So What’ Statements of Insights
One of the biggest part of communication is relationships and trust. If you have these two elements, it has a huge leverage effect, but you need to keep doing it and don’t just focus on the problems, celebrate the track record successes as well. You need to keep reminding people of what has been achieved so far to help them focus and provide further motivation on the journey ahead. Having a good relationship with the customer has often help me overcome internal organisational issues.
The introduction and modification of lean manufacturing/production Visual Display Boards/Stand-up Meetings and Whitewalls was instrumental in bringing a culture shift at one organisation to improve the visual control of design/development management processes and systems. It brought increased ownership, accountability and removed the previous stigma surrounding the issue of asking people for help.
Information is the lifeblood of all organisations and the culture should foster an open exchange of relevant information and actively discourage information hoarding. By setting an example and making information transparent, easy to access/search, intuitive to understand and action, creating opportunities for informal communication, undertaking Gemba walks, leaders engender and earn respect. By walking into a lab one day, I was able to observe, engage, improve and create a multi-million-pound product/system.