The basis of every fruitful relationship is communication. Its lack provokes more or less severe conflicts. Arguments, in turn, mean problems, particularly troublesome when they occur among people of one’s company. Tasks are not implemented on time, unfinished projects pile up, and customers are angry. To avoid such hindrances and make one’s company bloom, it is necessary to facilitate communication. Examples of methods how to do so can be multiplied ad infinitum, but we decided to choose three of them.
The Abandonment Of The Traditional “Communication Chain”
According to Elon Musk, the owner of Tesla and SpaceX, the key principle enabling people to work efficiently on projects is the abandonment of the traditional “communication chain” of a company’s hierarchy. According to it each piece of information is to pass through the appropriate level of managers. This mechanism may be helpful to managers but it surely will not serve the company well. All because instead of having a deep conversation with one person and quickly making sure that everything works as it should, people are forced to talk to their manager, who will talk to their manager, who will talk to the next manager from another department, and so on.
Don’t forget that the information must return too. This sounds extremely stupid, doesn’t it? Therefore, Musk advises giving employees the possibility to talk to the person they need, omitting the process of getting any permission from their superiors. That’s because it is best for the whole company.
An interesting approach to communications presents Matt Abrahams, a communication trainer, a specialist in the behavior of people in organizations. And a lecturer at Stanford University. According to Matt, there is one thing that makes every form of communication much more efficient, namely, its structure, which serves as the basis for our messages.
Abrahams’ formula for creating structures in communication is very simple, and it can be applied to practically any communication. It is based on asking the question “What? What about this? And what now? (What? So what? Now what?).”
As for the question “what,” Abrahams suggests identifying or describing one’s major ideas or arguments and doing it as simply as possible. Then, he stresses that it is crucial to ask oneself what is the main information one has to provide to be as accurate as possible.
The second part of this structure, called “What about this?,” focuses on the adequacy of one’s ideas or arguments to the audience (co-workers, employees). Abrahams emphasizes that one needs to be sure that they take into account the perspective of their listeners.
Finally, the Strafford lecturer underline the importance of the final question: “And what now?” It indicates the thoughts, feelings, and actions that its recipient is to remember after listening to our message. Abrahams advises to be as precise as possible to avoid ambiguity and to be aware of the tone one is conveying this information in.
Abrahams is convinced that at the highest level of communication, the principle “What? What about this? And what now?” gives one a high flow of communication. That is because they know immediately how they are going to send a message so they can focus more on the details.
Focus On Things Which Help Achieve Success
In short, communication is the best possible way to improve one’s company functioning. Tom Patterson, CEO of Tommy John’s clothing company, knows the situation from his own experience. He used to receive hundreds of messages which he had no time to answer to. But he found a way to deal with the problem.
Believing that during the day one should focus on things that will allow the whole company to succeed, Patterson set up an automatic reply in which he informed that he does not check emails from 9.00 to 17.00. He added that the reply will be delayed and, in case of urgent cases, employees are asked to call him or send a text message. If he does not reply within 2 days, he kindly asked his subordinates to send him the message again.
The lack of immediate response forced his employees to try to solve emerging problems and situations on their own. The solution is good, though it has its shortcomings. It won’t help people who are involved in, for instance, customer service and are responsible for responding to current problems. Nevertheless, the management team can focus on their own productivity and that of the team.
TO SUM UP
Communication is a must if one wishes to achieve success. Do you want your company to prospect? Allow your employees to think on their own and freely discuss their problems with people they need. It will surely help.