In my last post, I shared ways to open communication between you and your team, especially when things are not going well.
Positive patterns of communication release the tension that naturally builds when individuals are working to achieve ambitious goals and the necessary connections between team members are not well established. My free e-book Ten Steps to Improve Communication at Work will help you do this (scroll down to 2nd book).
This post focuses more broadly on how to support positive communication across the organization. Patterns of communication are strongly correlated to organizational efficiency.
Too much or too little communication creates costly inefficiencies on a company level and unnecessary suffering on an individual level.
HIGOL’s Instant Efficiency Builders will help you create patterns for success that benefit the employee while supporting short and long term company objectives by improving communication and increasing efficiency.
Instant Efficiency Builder #1: LET CRITICAL INFORMATION FLOW FREELY.
One of your main responsibilities as a leader is to make sure people have critical information when they need it.
Specifically, your team needs to know how things are going on the ‘global level’ – that is your level as the CEO or leader – a perspective from which they cannot see by themselves.
From your view, what is currently developing well and what needs help? Are you on target to meet revenue projections and other identified goals? (A question that often does not get enough attention from non-profit leaders.)
How and when do you communicate this? Regular emails? Structured meetings?
If you cannot quickly answer this question, be assured your team is operating less efficiently than they could be.
Instant Efficiency Builder #2: KILL THE DEADLY BORING MEETING.
How do you run meetings? Are you engaging people on important topics for which they have passion?
Are you using meetings to share critical information, find solutions, and make decisions?
Or are you using meetings to listen to boring reports and/or issue commands? Do meetings turn into a re-hash of information people already know?
Are they safe places for gossip and irrelevant discussions supporting ongoing workplace distractions and other negative patterns?
Are you walking through molasses as meetings progress? Is everyone dying to leave by the end?
Honestly evaluate if your approach to meetings helps your team move forward in executing your vision and getting better outcomes.
Most organizations can benefit from adopting an approach advocated by Patrick Lenciconi in Death by Meeting and by Arnaud Maitland in Master Work.
All meetings are not the same. Take time to carefully consider and then structure the true purpose of the meeting, so you stop wasting time. Be clear about what is most important before the meeting. Ask:
- What problem do you want to solve?
- What situation do you want to improve?
- What decision needs to be made? What is the critical information do you need to do it?
Don’t overload the agenda. If you have many critical issues to address, schedule separate meetings. You may actually need more meetings at first as you create new positive communication patterns.
Instant Efficiency Builder #3: WHERE ARE YOU? Share it.
It may not seem important to you to let your staff know your agenda and whereabouts for the week, or perhaps you feel that you shouldn’t have to ‘report’ them. It can, however, make a HUGE different in organizational efficiency. Here is what I have seen when my clients begin to share their plans for the week with their team (often through a simple weekly email):
- The team stops wasting time trying to find you.
- The team has less stress and anxiety. They feel more connected and focus more easily.
- Knowing where you are creates a natural impulse within the team to tie their actions to yours in a beneficial way.
- When you are in a critical all day meeting, they wait to reach out.
- When they see what is important to you and the company (by how you are spending your time), they begin to value it as well and support it many small and large ways.
- Actions begin to align. Efficiency is on its way.
Instant Efficiency Builder #4: DISSOLVE THE SILOS.
Look for places where different teams and team members need to connect and help them do it.
Without a deliberate structure to support this, it is almost impossible for team members to see how they need to connect to others and share helpful information. (In fact when stuck in the BORING DEADLY MEETING syndrome, people may actively avoid communicating with other teams for fear it will turn into another meeting.)
Consider how to create structures where teams can share what is happening with each other and have time to connect in a meaningful way. This can create instant new efficiencies, creativity and innovation which lead to higher productivity and less stress. Often however, it will not happen by itself. Often people are stuck in patterns working in isolated silos.
Instant Efficiency Builder #5: AVOID THE URGE TO FIRE EN MASSE.
In difficult situations when negativity and poor performance have festered for too long, you may want to fire many people and start fresh.
Imagine taking precious resources (energy, time and money) to fire old staff, hire new staff and you still don’t get the results you want and need? It happens (too often!).
When there is a negatively charged energetic dynamic in place within an organization, firing individuals does not change it.
Yes, some people may need to leave the organization. There are skillful ways to accomplish that.
However, to change a negatively charged dynamic within an organizational culture, change your relationship to it.
Engage it in a different way. That may be the most important thing. Try something different.
Shake up your own neural connections; respond differently to problems that keep repeating themselves. This will shake up your team’s neural connections as well and begin to break the negative energetic dynamic. Start to experiment and discover what works. Then you may see more clearly what needs to happen to achieve your goals.
Use the Instant Efficiency Builders to help you start.
If you want to learn more about how to implement the Instant Efficiency Builders and see how they could improve communication and accelerate your team’s efficiency, contact me for a complementary Efficiency Analysis.
How will you begin to improve efficiency in your business, whether you are just starting or well-established? Pick one thing and share below!