Saturday, May 1, 2021

Communication, Communication, Communication

To overcome the “problem-solving” impasse, it’s critical to communicate, challenge, debate, and learn, open dialogue to close blind spots and bridge cognitive gaps.

Communication problem is rampant in the business world. In fact, communication is probably the world’s biggest problem as many listen to respond and not to think profoundly beforehand. In the business across vertical sectors, especially those strictly hierarchical large organizations with bureaucratic culture, there are too many power players or functional/process silos which cause communication bottlenecks or business management ineffectiveness. 

Generally speaking, communication gaps are caused by cognitive difference, ambiguous process, or inappropriate communication style, etc.




Communication, Communication, and Communication: The speed of change is increasing, and the digital ecosystem has become more complex and dynamic, business management turns to be more complex than ever.. When there is a lack of communication, it is the lack of trust among people and management. And it significantly increases the probability for change management to fail. Thus, transparent reflection of cause and effects which need to be improved in communication and management is the one thing you need for making change smoothly.

Real change and improvement are deprogramming old mindsets, letting go of the outdated tradition or the voices from the past, and reprogram collective minds with new mentalities, norms, and behaviors. Communication is the bridge to keep people evolved at the same page and successful changes are often linked to the DNA of the organization itself. Business communication is not a single dimensional talk down from the top, communication has to flow via all directions (top-down, bottom-up, inside-out, outside-in, middle-out, cross-functions etc), also through common business language, not the functional dialects, to avoid ‘lost in translation," to build trust for both discovering the root cause of problems and providing solution to tailor the real problems.

Transparency: Generally speaking, transparency enforces trust in the organization. You could supervise with control of every move. But to build trust, it is really important for teams as every member is always aware of how the whole process is going on, what results have already been achieved. The transparency is to transform the organization into the system approach, not through command-control hierarchy only. It has to be implemented systematically and communicate democratically. But keep the word of caution: Transparency can be a double edge sword if the audience doesn't understand and embrace the intent in the right spirit.

The goal for improving communication transparency and effectiveness is to make hierarchical business systems adaptive so that they can respond to the challenges of a highly complex, interconnected, and interdependent world. At the organizational level, businesses are always on and hyper-connected, there is no shortcut for building a trustful workplace, transparency is a must. A company can have all the recognition, celebrations and such it wants, but unless the relationship is a trustworthy one, these activities will be of limited value in increasing engagement, collaboration & employee performance. Business transparency can help business executives tell a story of the journey from current state to future state of enablements, improvements, and accomplishments of digital business strategies. Thus, transparency is also gaining in popularity as a component of leadership, but in uncertain times, the concept is complicated by managing paradoxes. For example, transparency can be a double edge sword if the audience doesn't understand and embrace the intent in the right spirit.

Continuous and consistent communication should replace the 'business as usual”: Communications are the tool to solve problems, it is one of the most crucial soft factors for deciding business success. There are multiple causes for poor communication. Information overload can be a major barrier to communication. The problem most often is the inability of the "speaker" to adequately accept the real nature of the message or the environment. Continuous and consistent communication should replace the 'business as usual.” It is so important to develop an open atmosphere with effective and candid communication, it is also important to foster a healthy working environment where feedback and communication are based on reality and not simply what senior management wants to hear on the top.

Communication shouldn’t just enforce the hierarchical “command & control” management style, it needs to be concise enough to convey the key message; empathetic enough to understand people and creative enough to connect the heterogeneous audience. It needs to be data-based and informative enough to become more persuasive and build trustful relationships intellectually. Following the principle - “over-communicating” to deliver the consistent message and “less is more” for ensuring clarity and conciseness.

We dialogue when we communicate. Each type of dialogue has its use: The level of bureaucracy is dreadful, policies are used to achieve goals, but rarely does this approach work. In addition, open communication doesn’t mean rumor mongering or gossip encouraging, on the opposite, it’s about brainstorming how to bring wisdom to the workforce and build a positive culture to improve communication effectiveness and organizational maturity.

Communication is much more complicated because there are differences in goals and contexts. These contexts can shift. At the organizational level, businesses are always on and hyper-connected, there is no shortcut for building a trustful workplace, transparency is a must. A company can have all the recognition, celebrations and such it wants, but unless the relationship is a trustworthy one, these activities will be of limited value in increasing engagement & employee performance.

In the “VUCA” digital new normal, there isn’t always a right or wrong choice in any situation. To overcome the “problem-solving” impasse, it’s critical to communicate, challenge, debate, and learn, open dialogue to close blind spots and bridge cognitive gaps. Communication as the soft skill has to be integrated into the hard problem-solving competency and the art of the management.





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