Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Communication: The Name of the Game

The President of a midsize company was fed up with the cost of miscommunication within his company.  “We’re wasting time and money because we don’t know how to communicate,” he told his management team. “Beginning immediately we’re starting a campaign called ‘Say it Back to Me.’ I want big banners made and posted all over the company. I want a memo sent to every person explaining this new campaign. I’m determined to improve our communication. “

Over the next few weeks, employees began to get used to their president’s new idea. In any business conversation, whether it was one-on-one, in a group meeting or on the telephone, each employee had to conclude his statements with, “Will you please say it back to me?” The other person had to paraphrase what he or she heard that person say.

Of course no one liked it at first. It was a change, and as we’ve already seen, we don’t take to change easily. But since it was the president’s campaign, they realized they had little choice. So day by day everyone got more comfortable with “Say It Back to Me,” which was a simple technique to make everyone aware of the importance of communicating clearly and unambiguously.

Twelve months later the company was able to identify a significant bottom-line, hard dollars savings to the company because of improved communication. The reduction in errors and mistakes, plus the increased productivity because of saving the time required to fix those mistakes, was easily identifiable as a result of this simple campaign to improve communication. “But,” the president said, “we received another benefit we hadn’t counted on. The improvement in communication eliminated many bad feelings between employees and greatly increased our team spirit and esprit de corps.  That has proven to be one of the best results of our campaign to communicate more effectively.”

How many times have you said, “Wow, I just didn’t communicate with that person very well”? Or, “We really miscommunicated, didn’t we?” I think communicating accurately and effectively is one of the best skills we can acquire and one of the toughest too. It simply is not easy to communicate, and in order to do it well, we have to learn the skills and work hard at improving and maintaining them in our own lives.  Thrivers are good communicators and people who work at improving all the time.

Remember that verse from 2 Corinthians 8:21: “For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.” Developing good communication skills requires some “pains,” but it is effort that pays off in enhanced performance, improved relationships, and reduced stress. 

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