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Posts Tagged ‘vision’

The Manager’s Communication Handbook

In trying to find ways to improve our company’s working environment I continually search for resources to help guide me in my efforts. Since most organizations often find communication problematic, “The Manager’s Communication Handbook” by David Cottrell and Eric Harvey addresses the issue. Here is an excerpt from the book’s introduction you may find interesting.

“What is the greatest frustration for most employees? Could it be they think they’re not getting paid enough? Or that the workplace is cramped or noisy? Maybe they think management expects too much from them? Could organizational bureaucracy or politics be number one on the frustration list? All of these possibilities are easy to imagine … and justify. However, in survey after survey, employees place communication problems at the top of their frustration list.

Communication?

Yes, communication. Most managers spend so much time and effort communicating it’s hard for them to believe it could be a major problem. The paradox is that while employees are frustrated by a perceived lack of communication with their managers, most managers feel they are outstanding communicators. In a recent study, researchers asked a group of managers to evaluate their personal communication skills. The study discovered that 90% of the managers rated their communication skills in the top 10% of all managers. Obviously, 80% of the managers think they are better communicators than they actually are. Do you think their perceptions are a little off from reality?

We often hear that “communication is the key” or “leadership is communication” or any number of slogans about the importance of communication. These slogans are common because they’re true – communication is critical. It’s one of the most powerful tools managers have in their “toolbox.” Communication can be as tactical as posting the daily numbers or as strategic and profound as sharing the purpose and vision of the organization.

With so much emphasis on communication, how could it be such a big problem?

Actually, communication may not be the problem, and communicating more may not be the solution. In most cases, employees don’t need more information. Most of the information they receive doesn’t get read; that which gets read is frequently not understood; and that which is understood is usually not remembered.

The real problem is that the communication being delivered is not the same as, or connected with, the message being received. In other words, managers’ communication is often filled with so much “static” that the message is not understood, supported, or accepted by employees. The static preventing connected communication could be many things including ambiguity, confusion, inconsistency, conflict, or distrust.

What causes this communication static?

One factor is the proliferation of communication methods in recent years – e-mail, voice mail, meetings, conference calls, cell phones, pagers, memos, video, intranets, newsletters, etc. With so many options, we tend to pay more attention to how we’re going to communicate than what we’re going to communicate. In other words, it’s more about the method than the message.

As a result, most managers think of communication as an activity as opposed to an outcome. The focus is on producing slick graphics, writing a clever memo, or delivering a great presentation, instead of creating commitment, passion, and enthusiasm among employees.

Another reason for the communication static is we’ve forgotten that true communication is a two-way process. Some of the technological advances that have made communication easier have also de-personalized it. It’s not enough to just put out a message and hope employees “get it.” We have to follow up to be certain we connected – to make sure the message received was the same one we intended to give.

To effectively eliminate communication static and build understanding, support, and acceptance, we need to make a shift and think of communication as an outcome. To do that, we want to look at communication from the receiver’s perspective. We should ask the question, “What is my desired outcome with this communication? What do I want employees to think, feel, and do after receiving my message?”

At a minimum, our objective should be for others to understand our communication. But employees can clearly understand the message and still not agree with it or be willing to follow our direction. The ultimate goal is to build support and acceptance – to have receivers internalize your message, to move them to action. Understanding is intellectual; support and acceptance are emotional. It’s like the difference between compliance and commitmentwhich one would you rather have from your coworkers?”

Andrea McAfee

www.baylessengineering.com

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Business Valuation – in the Shark Tank

March 20, 2012 4 comments

My blog topic for today is a bit on the lighter side.  Ever seen the program on ABC named “Shark Tank”?  While it’s obviously an entertainment show, there are some incredibly interesting strategic and management aspects to the show.

In case you haven’t heard of the Show, here’s the quick synopsis from the Show’s web site:

The Sharks are back to continue their search to invest in the best products and businesses that America has to offer. The critically acclaimed Shark Tank gives budding entrepreneurs the chance to make their dreams come true, and possibly make a business deal that will make them a millionaire. Season Three continues to make TV history, with the Sharks offering over $6.2 million of their own money in investment deals to bankroll a creative array of innovative entrepreneurs.

The “Sharks” consist of people like Marc Cuban, owner and chairman of HDNet and owner of the Dallas Mavericks (among many other companies); Barbara Corcoran, Kevin O’Leary, Lori Greiner, Daymond John, and Robert Herjavec.

As a small business owner, I’m always extremely curious as to other business owner’s ideas, perceptions of value, and their plans to grow – and this show gives each of the entrepreneurs a crash course on what they’ve gotten right, and where they’re completely clueless.

If you’ve got the time and inclination, I would recommend checking it out – Fridays on ABC at 8pm.  Like most things, some episodes are great, while others are annoying – but you’ll definitely come away with new ideas, new motivations, and new strategies.

Scott Capistrano

Status Not Quo

www.statusnotquo.com

Never get comfortable

August 5, 2011 2 comments

Over last weekend, I briefly thought to myself “it sure would be nice if things settled down at SNQ – even briefly and we had a normal day”.

So what precipitated this thought?  Well, it seems to me that since day one of the formation of Status Not Quo, every day has been dynamic, challenging, and mildly stressful due to constant change.  Granted, most of our challenges have been positive (i.e. either fall under “opportunity” or “character building” lol). 

 However, as I reflect today (I’m writing this on a Monday), I admonish myself to “Never get comfortable”.  I constantly challenge other business owners and our clients to continuously reinvent themselves, or stagnate and get left behind.  While this is always our focus, it is hectic.

 The entire year of 2011 at SNQ has been crazy busy due to a move – consolidating and moving to a corporate office.  We went from completely virtual and decentralized, to a mix of the two with stronger centralization. 

 However, not one week after I sat down at the new office, we were faced with the potential of an incredible opportunity to move into two new areas of software development by absorbing/merging with another firm.  This will expand us into a multi-office company, and very possibly into needing an international presence in South America.  Talk about Distributed to Centralized and back to Distributed (insert rising stress meter here)!

 My point is to be thankful for change, and embrace that uncertainty.  Granted, many times it stems from a negative challenge – but we must still view those challenges as opportunities to change, leverage, reinvent, and grow.  The day things start getting boring around here is when I will really start to stress.  Take a well deserved break this weekend, but when you return on Monday, challenge yourself and get outside of your comfort zone.

 Scott Capistrano

Status Not Quo

http://www.statusnotquo.com

Do You Work in a High-Integrity Organization?

May 29, 2011 1 comment

Recently I ran across this excerpt from “LEADING TO ETHICS” 10 Leadership Strategies For Building A High-Integrity Organization by Eric Harvey, Andy Smith, and Paul Sims.

Do You Work in a High-Integrity Organization?

High-integrity, ethical leaders:

Build Values and Ethics Awareness.
They regularly communicate and discuss the organization’s shared values, operating principles, and ethical standards – making sure they are understood, supported, and accepted at all levels.

Hold People Accountable.
They hold themselves and others accountable for ethical behavior. And they have zero-tolerance for values violations because they know that “one bad apple can spoil the bunch.”

Lead By Example.
They recognize that they earn the right to expect others to perform with integrity when they, themselves, “walk the talk.”

Use Values To Drive Decisions.
They apply the organization’s values and guiding principles when making decisions – whether big and strategic, or small and seemingly insignificant. They realize that ethics are displayed in everything we do, and everything we do counts.

Ensure In-Sync Policies and Practices.
They make sure that rules and standards support the organization’s values and ethics at every level. And, should an ethical dilemma occur, they welcome the opportunity to resolve the issue quickly and without fear of reprisal.

Pay Attention To Perceptions.
They pay close attention to the feelings, opinions, and reactions of their colleagues, their employees, the customers they serve, and everyone in their circle of influence. They realize that perceptions ARE reality when it comes to ethics and integrity.

Hire and Promote Ethical People.
They use the organization’s mission, vision, and values as criteria for hiring and promotion decisions. And, they ONLY select those individuals who believe in these principles and who behave with integrity.

This served as a reminder to me that there is more to “doing business” than just “doing business”. It also prompts one to look within their own organization (s) to learn whether not only they, themselves, but also management, and even employees measure up to these high standards of integrity.

Andrea McAfee

Controller

Bayless Engineering & Manufacturing

www.baylessengineering.com