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Posted by on in Communication
If no one understands the message the fault is with the messenger. I recently met with the leaders of one of my Westchester County New York organizations to present results of an employee survey. The employees felt that there were had been many changes and they didn’t understand why. Productivity almost always suffers in times of great change because employee stress dramatically increases due to the universal fear of the unknown. Often senior executives genuinely believe they are communicating with employees when it comes to matters that affect them. Unfortunately, they often underestimate the number of matters that includes. Can you say with certainty that you know what is important to employees and what to tell them? The only way to know is to put yourself in their shoes and see thing from their position and mindset. Think to yourself, “If I were hearing this information what would I be worried...

Posted by on in Communication
A recent study discovered that 70% of small to mid-size businesses claim communication is their primary problem. A business with 100 employees spends an average downtime of 17 hours a week clarifying communications. This translates in an annual cost of $528,443.00. Could this be your reality? What can be done about improving communication, and how to get those wasted dollars back and reinvested in our other areas of your business, your division, or department? Communication is where it all starts. The importance of open communication, simply, cannot be overstated as it is fundamental in building trust, managing conflict, gaining commitment, maintaining accountability, and identifying team results. Much has been said and written about clear and concise communication. Much has been said about listening carefully. What if you are doing all of that but you still are having problems with your communication? We know that our message is affected by several things...

Posted by on in Communication
Your attitude comes through in your communication. A positive uplifting message will lead to positive results. Unfortunately, the opposite is true when you have a negative message. Some time ago I had started working with two leaders of an organization. They complained of their many problems. It was their location, their clientele’ but most of all it was their employees. “We can’t get the right people to work for us,” they said. I spent some time interviewing them as well as a sample of people in their organization. There was a big disconnect. The employees wanted the organization to be successful. However, one owner was abusive in constant criticism and the other was running around putting out fires. This father and son team could not convey the goals of the organization and they were not even communicating completely the upcoming projects. The staff was frustrated. The father was totally exhausted because...

Posted by on in Communication
Did you know that you can say the same sentence several times and have it mean something different each time? If that is true shouldn't you be very careful when you deliver a message? Recently I met executives of a Westchester County New York company. The employees felt that there were a lot of changes but also believed that management was not keeping them informed. Productivity almost always suffers in times of great change because employee stress dramatically increases due to the universal fear of the unknown. Often senior executives genuinely believe they are communicating with employees when it comes to matters that affect them. Unfortunately, they often underestimate the number of matters that includes. As a manager do you know with certainty what is important to employees and what to tell them? The only way to know is to put yourself in their shoes and see things from their position...

Posted by on in Communication
Think about the last time you lost a deal. Chances are it had something to do with lack of communication. Lack of real communication is one of the biggest causes of dysfunctional relationships in our business and personal lives. We communicate to get an expected response from someone else. But sometimes, in fact often, we do not get the response we expect.   One powerful reason for this failure is that we talk more than we listen. We are so concerned with making our own points and having someone understand us that we do not take the time to understand the other person. How often do we try to insert our own opinions to try to persuade others? Communication requires a sender of the message and a receiver—that is to say that communication is a two-way process. That means we must listen to hear and understand the other person. We need to...

Posted by on in Communication
Your words, no matter how eloquent, will probably not by themselves convey your message. Communication is a two-way process and it is more than just words. Effective communication involves feelings, connections, and other nonverbal signals. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best. “What you do speaks so loudly, I can't hear what you are saying.” Therefore, it is important to understand the meaning others might put on your words. Your gestures, expressions, intonations, and beliefs will communicate much more meaning than the words alone. Communication is a two-way process to exchange ideas. We communicate in order to elicit some type of response. Some examples of a response could be more knowledge, a specific action, or some type of emotion. A good communicator, to be sure of the desired response, is also a good listener. He or she listens for feedback to see that the message is being understand. This also including watching...

Posted by on in Sales and Marketing
If you don’t have a clear message people will not understand you. When asking entrepreneurs about one of the biggest business challenges a large majority with answer Marketing. According to the American Marketing Association, “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large”. That is a complex statement. I would simply define as being top of mind when your prospect is ready to buy. Do you know your target market?   It is important to define the parameters of your ideal prospects because it will help you to focus on those areas and people with whom you have the highest probability of success! This may be counter intuitive but in defining your market less is more. The best way to do this is to identify your competitive advantage and determine who is most likely...

Posted by on in Communication
How are you communicating? Are you getting the expected response? Your communication may seem clear to you but if you do not get the response you expect then your communication has failed. That is because the two way process of communication mandates that a message be clearly sent and that it is also received and understood. If your message did not result in increased knowledge or prompt a specific action then your message was not received. You will not be successful in your communications unless you listen and you ask questions. The point is that we need to listen twice as much as we talk. That is why we have two ears and one mouth. I think it’s a fair statement to say that how well you listen has a major impact on your job effectiveness, and on the quality of your relationships with others. For some reason people place a...

Posted by on in Communication
Organizations with a high level of staff engagement communicate well with their employees. Have you noticed that organization with internal problems can trace the cause to poor communication? Many of the terminations in an organization, both voluntary and involuntary have their root cause in the improper communication. Sometimes it is not what you say but how you say it. How can you change this? The first step is to create positive results by being positive in your communication. Here are six suggestions on positive effective communication. •          You can accept others ideas and respect them although you do not have to agree. Acknowledge amazing requests and outrageous statements with responses such as: "That's an interesting idea." "That's a novel request." "What an intriguing question." Then listen to what the other person is saying and use those questions as an opportunity for the other person to be heard. You can move to...

Posted by on in Communication
The best communicators know that communication is a two way process. Remember the line, “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”   This line is from the movie Cool Hand Luke and it has become a catchphrase. That is because it highlights one of our greatest frustrations--miscommunication. On the other hand, great communication has almost always been a trait of some of our greatest leaders. They had great accomplishments but they were almost always great communicators. Communication is a two-way process to exchange ideas. We communicate in order to elicit some type of response. Some examples of a response could be more knowledge, a specific action, or some type of emotion. Depending on our communications media, the words we use might not have as powerful an impact as other factors. For example, in face to face conversations we communicate more information non verbally through our body language and our tone...

Posted by on in Communication
Next time you watch a debate on TV take note of the points and counterpoints made. It is usually a battle of ideas with one party trying to step on and knock out the other. In many companies the same thing happens when one executive is trying to make his case a little stronger than the other. Unfortunately, too many people use the same technique in trying to persuade someone or to make a sale. Here is a recent encounter I had with a sales consultant. I was questioning the comparable features offered by two different iPhone telecommunications carriers.  During the conversation I pointed out that one carrier had an additional benefit.  The additional benefit enabled the user to check an email or check on the Internet while using the phone. The consultant shot back, “you’re not going to surf the internet while you are driving.”  What? How did he make...

Posted by on in Communication
“What we have here is a failure to communicate!” That line from Cool Hand Luke sums up a common problem. In order to have progress of any kind we must communicate. Since we do not live in a vacuum we cannot run our business or our lives that way. Often, in our experience, when we find an organization that is struggling we almost always discover that poor or non-existent communication is one of the major causes. An effective leader communicates clearly. However, an outstanding or great leader does more. The outstanding leader does that plus inspires others to want to do the things that are necessary to achieve great outcomes. That leader has a compelling vision and transfers that inspiration to others. Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great”, highlights what he terms Level Five Leadership. He says that a great leader is able to get the right people on...

Posted by on in Employee Engagement
I remember working with a CEO, who when asked the question how many people work here would reply, “Oh about half.” Although that may be a funny wise crack comment, on a serious note the Gallup organization reports that it is only one third. Should you be concerned? The best way to illustrate the cost employee disengagement is with this story. I recently did a similar survey for an organization. This organization provides onsite catering and event services. Their requirements for success are a providing good service, great food, consistency, and a great guest experience. The owner and his son were physically worn out. They were struggling to get more business but having a hard time providing good service to existing customers. Here is why. For starters, father and son disagreed on the operation of the business. Because of this, some key employees chose to align with one family member over...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity."  -- Gen. George S. Patton "Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way."                 -- Gen. George S. Patton On this Memorial Day weekend we pay tribute to our fallen brave men and women in the armed forces.  It is also fitting to honor the great leadership lessons of our past military leaders.   It is not surprising to me that many great civilian leaders that I have known have received their leadership lessons in the US military.  The leadership in the US Armed forces inspires and demands that each person does his or her very best.  Now that doesn’t mean that everyone has to have a management style like Patten.  Those were his traits.  People with totally different traits such as Colon Powell or Norman Schwarzkopf were equally effective...

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