Sunday, April 24, 2005

I Admire Your Enthusiasm, But You're Heading in the Wrong Direction

"I wish people who have trouble communicating would just shut up."

-- Tom Lehrer

A client at a financial management firm said something remarkably similar to this statement earlier this week.

To build a stronger business in the area of interpersonal communications, you've got to do three things at the same time: encourage communication, model clear communication, raise awareness of different communication styles.

The weakest companies stiffle communication, which cuts off vital feedback and can cause all sorts of backlash and resentment. If you find yourself in a culture that is disrespectful, arrogant, or otherwise hostile to open communications, you may have to get out from that relationship, group, or company altogether.

Good companies not only encourage communication from and between all sectors, but they make a conscious effort to provide training and personal examples of communication that is clear, concise, and solution-oriented.

The very best companies and organizations explicitly recognize, reinforce, and reward good communicators. Part of good communications is supporting others to become more proficient. I've been fortunate to work with managers and leaders in companies such as DuPont, Apple, IMS, and Astra-Zeneca who demonstrated this with one-on-one interactions as well as in group meetings.

What examples of good communications are you aware of in your company?