Monday, November 30, 2015

What are the Set of Principles to Harness Communication?

The purpose of setting communication principles is to build an effective digital workplace where collaboration and sharing are the norms.

Communication is a very powerful tool in breaking barriers, building trust, and enforce collaboration. In order to harness communication, start by identifying the barriers you think hinder effective collaboration and work on them. We can achieve an effective communication when we make sure our desired thought is interpreted between multiple entities and acted on in the desired way. Here is the set of principles to harness communication.

It’s the mindset that needs to change first: Breaking down barriers and communicating or collaborating in a different way must start with "Why." It helps us to try to see situations from the perspective of individuals involved.If we do not answer the basic question of why we want to start doing something in a different way then we will be met with cynicism and mistrust as to our motives and, therefore barriers will rise. If we desire to affect a different outcome we must explain the rationale for change and engage people in that rationale, once people understand the need to do things differently then the barriers start to lower. And today, too many minds are too set and settled in comfort-zone. We can sometimes forget that a barrier exists. Or we may not realize it is a barrier. People build walls and have been in "self-preservation" mode in business environments at the industrial age, how many of us are genuinely looking within our own hearts and minds to learn about the barriers? Limits we impose on those around us; which in turn, prevents us from genuinely listening, collaborating and building trust?

Communicate gratitude for others' contributions: Be reasonably and appropriately available. Assure designated leaders are identified to stakeholders. Assure vision and strategy to achieve it are well communicated. Define and implement collaboration tools to be used. Designate duties or accept duties assigned. State limitations if unable to accomplish a duty and enroll team member to assist. Meet deadlines, give and accept feedback. Demonstrate accountability. Respect the differences of others and understand that there are times as a leader that you must become a follower. Consensus means “general agreement” and having that as a goal encourages and focuses the participants. It also creates equity and ownership in whatever decision is made. Being generous at sharing the change with all coworkers, as the change is the most precious asset in organizational settings. Communicate and support the others regardless of leadership style differences.

Use collaboration as a strategy to deliver: Collaboration is the route towards providing better and more tailored services for people in the future. Spending time with people to find out what it is that drives them; what their issues are; what their fears and perceptions might be. Not taking things personally has been a huge benefit. Explain clearly and completely about what you expect. This means defining what you want and need. It does not mean telling someone how to do it your way. This is giving them enough information to figure out how to do it their way. For example, finding the root cause of miscommunication, if it's to do with knowledge, close the gap and instill a greater understanding of issues that you want to collaborate on. Try horizontal and vertical open communication. Collaborate on strategy and work together to drive performance. Use other’s strengths to strengthen your team. Reach out and offer support to others, that we may have perceived as competition. By doing so, developing collaborative behaviors to support this essential evolution. Collaboration becomes a whole lot easier if we give people the time to hear what they have to say without the constant distraction or unhealthy competition. If collaboration leads to better outcomes than acting alone, people collaborate. Where common benefits are the basis for individual benefits, people collaborate. If the virtue of togetherness benefits more than being solo, people collaborate.

Self-awareness and vulnerability: Vulnerability, generosity, respecting differences and a willingness to have ideas challenged seem to be in short supply in that neck of the woods! You need to understand your own tendencies and their value, but also what you may not think about as readily. You also need to be vulnerable to hearing the ideas challenged from a viewpoint different than your own. The vulnerability is key! In the spirit of 'being the change," it is imperative that we are willing to seek out help and collaboration as we work to generate new ideas or solve problems. For so long, we have been taught to not show weakness or 'fake it till you make it' and while the origin of these adages may have been positive, it can be difficult to show a willingness to be vulnerable and admit that we may not know all of the answers. Ultimately, that is not a sign a weakness but rather an open door to illustrate the value of developing the answer with a colleague and sharing the power of diverse perspectives to shape a new idea or solution.

Applying Agile philosophy to foster cross-functional interaction and communication: Being agile helps with bringing the right people together quickly to make progress sooner, faster decisions and access to the right resources. Technology can help with collaboration, but nothing beats co-located resources with shared goals and clear decision making. Agile is to manage changes, and the best way to do that is to improve the communication. All others points of Agile are great improvements, but this is the principle. Managers and executives have to serve and lead, and the traditional management paradigm needs to shift 180 degrees; leadership teams have to trust and support teams and remove organizational impediments. They need to empower teams and individuals that are closest to the 'problem' to make the right decisions, and ensure that those decision makers have everything they need to implement.

The purpose of setting communication principles is to build an effective digital workplace where collaboration and sharing are the norms. The least effective culture at fostering a digital workplace is traditional command and control environments. So digital technology such as enterprise social computing could be effective tools to break down a hierarchical culture and harness cross-functional interaction, communication, and collaboration. And businesses have to figure out a more efficient way of bringing people together to follow a vision, create business synergy and achieve business goals effortlessly.


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