Why Your Office Communication Sucks!

...and how to fix it

Office communication…the “bull-in-the-china-shop” of every office.  Something so basic that we always seem to forget about.  I didn’t know about that, why isn’t there enough staff working today to take care of this rush?, she never said anything about it or why didn’t they tell me to do it that way?

Talk to the Hand

How many times have you heard comments like these from your staff?

Do they sound familiar? And if so, why? What are you doing wrong in your business that prevents the sharing of necessary information to your team?

Here are two reasons why:

Changing of Policy or Procedure

Did you recently change a company or departmental policy or procedure? How was this change put into action?

  • Was it sent out in a memo?
  • Was it told to just the department heads in a meeting?
  • Was it written on company letterhead and posted on a cork board in a hallway?
  • Was there a specific date and time for it to be put into action?

How can you be sure that all employees are aware of the changes without doing the following?

  • A written notice of policy/procedure change is given to all employees
  • A general or departmental meeting is held with all employees where the changes are described, explained and reasons for the change are given
  • Appropriate training is given to employees in order to be fully proficient in the new procedure
  • If appropriate, additional staff or management presence is on hand to monitor the staff’s compliance of new procedures and readily available to assist in order to satisfy a customer’s need or understanding of changes

You Thought Someone Else Would Take Care Of It

How many times did something “fall through the cracks” because you thought another co-worker was going to handle it?

Just as with other business tasks, there must be a clear-cut chain of responsibility as to who will complete any given assignment, especially one that is important to the success of the business.

In your absence have you identified who will send out the employee schedule? If you will be in a last minute meeting with your boss have you assigned someone else to meet with, or reschedule, your 3pm interview? You thought your fellow manager was going to tell the staff to come in earlier tomorrow but she never did.

These are real-world examples of how things get forgotten or overlooked only because there was not a clear channel of communication between all parties involved.

This is the easiest way to hurt your business…and also one of the easiest things to fix.

***So, does your office communication suck?

Copyright © 2017 Steve DiGioia

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4 thoughts on “Why Your Office Communication Sucks!

  1. Great article!! Mr. Steve and thanks for sharing..Responsible business promotes RESPECT and TRUST between co-workers. We are driven proactively by the way we support each other. “Just a simple reminder” coming from a less productive team counts a lot in a complicated workplace.
    We are not perfect compared to the others who has been and had adjusted to this kind environment. But it persuades us to do right thing step by step.

    • Poor communication can be the biggest hurdle to overcome for any business, or family for that matter. Too many assumptions will ultimately reach the doorstep of the customer, then once their experience is less than expected, we will have lost the only opportunity to make a lasting impression.

      We can’t be afraid to confirm, to make sure, to ensure all parties involved are keenly aware of all expectations.

      Thanks for adding to the conversation here Marlowie.

      • Great article pertaining to an important subject Steve. Thank you for writing it. My experiences and studies have consistently found that poor organizational communication stems directly from one or more of three main sources: a) Fear, b) Lack of planning and resources, which you have brilliantly highlighted Steve, and c) Insufficient knowledge and valuation of the organization’s complexities and needs. Fear tends to drive the other two point, and it often reveals itself through comments such as “they just have to do their jobs”, and “I delegated this task to someone else”, or even “I thought they knew”.

        The reason why fear is at the basis of these comments and the thoughts that spawn them is due to the complexity that organizations, even small ones, can and do present. We are so used to operations seeming so seamless that we fail to realize how much of everyone’s time and effort are going into the countless “band-aides” that are accounting for all of the gaps. Those gaps represent inconvenient truths about necessary needs that the employees and organization have; all of which point to increased resources and temporary productivity reductions in order to set the organization up for future increased and more adaptable capacity. Often organizations do not have time to do it correctly the first time, but they always have time and resources to do it over again.

        These previous observations pertaining to how fear becomes a debilitating force facilitate the second point regarding the non-allocation of sufficient resources for their initiative. Implementation planning is the final level for actualizing stratagem and tactics. Anything that is trying to be implemented that is not already properly enabled by current training programs and P&P must be identified and either adjusted or created in order for the new initiative to succeed within acceptable cost and time parameters. Unfortunately, too often organizational leaders and managers overlook the simple reality that their training, and oft amended P&P, are insufficiently structured, offering little utility for newly crafted plans. As a result their current training programs and amalgamated P&P actually sabotage their initiative efforts instead of supporting them. The resultant poor organizational communication can be misconstrued as being due to simple oversights and harmless process gaps instead of an indicator of deeper organizational design issues that need greater forethought and attention.

        The deeper organizational design issues that may be in play stem from the third source pertaining to insufficient knowledge and valuation of the organization’s complexities. The norm in American business has been to promote people to executive leadership and advanced management teams based upon demonstrated expertise in sales or marketing. It has only recently come to light that these people need a skill set that is very different from their field expertise in order to develop and pilot whole districts, regions, divisions and organizations because it is a completely different task. Developing and piloting important parts of an organization are beyond management principles, and thus they require more investment in the practices of how organizations work. Knowing how organizations work can heighten the sensitivity to the needs of the organization. A heighten sensitivity can provide greater appreciation for the organizations operation and complexities, and thereby result in higher levels of value for it’s employees and needs.

        Communication audits can be very good tools to both highlight organizational needs, and to serve as indicators of deeper organizational health issues and design needs.

        • Hello David,

          Thank you so much for your extremely detailed comment on this post. I very much agree with your assessment that many are promoted to management based on their existing skill at their position (sales & marketing for example) with no demonstrated skills as a manager/supervisor.

          Many desire a management position based on the perceived benefits as viewed from afar. But, until all the duties, including proper communication within the departments, can be mastered, the new manager will fail to succeed…and may regret the advancement.

          Thanks,
          Steve

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