An organization is like a vehicle: it is made up of many parts designed to work together to accomplish the purpose of getting from where it is now to where it is going. It takes a finely-tuned system to enable and insure that the whole is moved by the parts smoothly and in the right direction. If a single part breaks down it often means that the whole machine can no longer move forward.
The driver (for example, the Board of Directors, CEO, President, Owner, Managers) makes the decision where the vehicle should be going. However, the road upon which the vehicle travels is built by the work of those throughout the rest of the organization. In order to operate smoothly and continue moving forward, as individual parts of the whole, members of the organization work at honing their talents, gifts and graces so that they can contribute to the building up of those in their organization and those whom it serves (both internal and external customers). On-going learning and skill development are hallmarks of a highly effective and profitable organization because it is learning that enables us to better serve those around us.
One of the gifts we all are given is language. The effective use of language, or communication, is a skill that needs vigilant attention if we are to avoid ambiguity, uncertainty and confusion in our organizations.
Returning to our automotive metaphor, in order to arrive at its destination the vehicle must have fuel of sufficient quantity and quality. Effective use of language, that is to say, communication is the fuel of any organization - effective communication gets the vehicle to the chosen destination; ineffective communication causes the vehicle to sputter, choke and eventually stop.
Extending the metaphor, the fuel is a mixture of:
1.individual interpersonal communication skills
2.organizational communication infrastructure and processes
Both of these components either facilitate or frustrate effective communication. I will go so far as to say that any communication, no matter how innocuous it may at first seem, contributes either to clarity or ambiguity when it comes to intented consequences of goal accomplishment.
Does the the fuel of your organization need refining so that it is high quality and high mileage - so that it “clears things up" rather than “muddies the waters?" Here are the steps to take to refine your fuel. You'll have to be creative in the ways you accomplish these tasks.
1. Communicate so that you understand and are understood the first time
2. Create and sustain an infrastructure throughout your organization that leads to consistent, thorough, accurate and timely communication
3. Use language correctly and consistently to motivate others to do better than what they thought they could do
4. Develop effective communication processes and techniques that reduce ambiguity and increase clarity while reducing the amount of time it takes to get goals accomplished
5. Communicate calmly and deliberately in times of stress, uncertainty, anxiety, fear, crisis and conflict that the outcomes will be better than anyone thinks they can be
6. You cannot manage people; you manage people's time and effort in ways that motive them toward accomplishing organizational goals; motivation, when divided into two words, means to have a motive to take action. What motives do your people have to take the action needed to get and keep things moving forward?
7. Lead others through change so that things get better, not worse. It has been rightly said that the only thing that does not change is change itself. Since it's going to occur anyway and, in fact, is happening constantly all around us, take charge of change by proactively designing your organization's transition process thereby making it a strategic competitive advantage for your organization; otherwise, people will feel victims of change and resist it at every possible turn fearing that it will be for the worse, not for the best. With a clearly defined and communicated transition process, any change can be easily managed toward a desired destination.
Ken Wallace, M. Div. , CSL has been in the organizational development field since 1973. He is a seasoned consultant, speaker and executive coach with extensive business experience in multiple industries who provides practical organizational direction and support for business leaders. A professional member of the National Speakers Association since 1989, he is also a member of the International Federation for Professional Speaking and holds the Certified Seminar Leader (CSL) professional designation awarded by the American Seminar Leaders Association.
Ken is one of only eight certified Business Systems Coaches worldwide for General Motors.
His topics include ethics, leadership, change, communication & his unique Optimal Process Design® program.
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