I have recently been interviewing for a position within a business consulting company and I had an interesting conversation with one of the partners about issues I personally perceive to encounter most often in organizations as main issues. Communication! Communication! Communication! This is what went off in my head. I went on to provide a few examples and thought they provided a great parallel of how, as many of us may or may not be heading into practice development, something as simple as communication has destroyed and caused disfunction in personal and professional institutions around us.
1) Assistant coach to NCAA DII softball program: Head coach would make extensive practice plans, print them out, color code them, highlight, organize them with page numbers and diagrams….hand them to the assistants 10 min prior to practice….and expect us to understand them. OK. So…she obviously spent a large amount of time putting together her “communication” by way of a physical product, that in her mind has all the objectives, direction, and intention laid out…but dropped the ball on verbally communicating these aspects because she felt the handouts would be enough. In the end, practices would consist of her running drills, and telling us to go do our assigned piece…which was on the handout…and then get frustrated with us when we were not clear on what we were doing. Lesson Learned: Just because somethings is clear to you…it most likely isn’t to everyone involved. Take time to confirm objectives, directions, and procedures. It will save time when you have to re-explain yourself.
2) Office Manager for Golf Facility: CEO would only contact my through email and written notes. Would not answer phone and was never around the office, that is what his personal assistant was for (according to him) and she was actively working on his property management business…so no help to me. Numerous projects for the upstart of this company were going on, and I would complete them in a timely manner according to his needs/wants expressed in the written communication. However, at least once a week I would hear via his assistent that is wasn’t right, or he changed his mind and didn’t want that particular vendor/advertising outlet/employee hired. Awesome. Lesson learned: Be assertive in clarifying goals and intentions. ACTUALLY communicate your desires and needs to management so they don’t waste resources.
Communication is huge and can break a system down so quickly and create chaos. It is so important to reflect on how we are communicating and establish efficient communication practices, especially in the development of something new! I leave you with These top 8 contributors to communication breakdown courtesy of managementstudyguide.com:
1) Perceptual and language barriers/differences 2) Information Overload! 3) Inattention 4)Time Pressure 5) Distractions 6) Emotions 7) Complexity of Organizational Structure 8) Poor Retention