By Kate Pierson
The rhetorical question “does your left hand know what your right hand’s doing?” is a figure of speech that’s been bandied about for years.
While philosophers have pondered all its metaphorical and multifaceted meanings, in the context of this discussion, this expression is aligned with the importance of effective professional communication.
This means ensuring your core constituents, those who are an extension of you and your business, have an open and honest relationship with each other that is supervised and supported by you.
Fact is though, getting compartmentalised departments to work in unison is an exercise of professional co-ordination, as is ensuring these divisions continue to feed each other the time, energy and information to grow and survive.
But challenging or not, bridging the communication chasm between coexisting components of a company is an absolute must do; it is the hallmark of a business’ best friends — efficiency and productivity.
Needless to say, communication is particularly important when ‘risk creators’ such as salespeople, marketers and buyers are involved — for example, those whose actions or inactions have a direct impact on the bottom line.
Smart business practise demands an holistic approach be employed and this is about synchronising departments that work simultaneously. Because having a collective team working in disconnected entities is like having a security net with holes in it — just pointless. You’re pouring resource, time and energy in, but losing it at an equal or even higher rate due to poor decisions being made and a prolonged failure to recognise that fact. Quite simply, a breakdown in communication can lead to a breakup between you and your company and yes, it will hurt — emotionally and financially.
The subsequent losses eventuating from business blunders may not happen overnight, but progressively the cross-purpose decisions being made, in conjunction with general misunderstandings, misinterpretations and digressions from important tasks, will inevitably take a cumulative toll — and it’s unlikely the outcome of these professional faux pas’ will have ‘positive’ written all over it.
The facts speak for themselves. Around 220 organisations employing 32,000 New Zealanders took part in the JRA Best Workplaces Survey for 2009 and JRA managing director John Robertson asserts that, based on the results, communication and clarity of purpose were the clear characteristics of success for 2009.
“The top 25 percent of organisations in our 2009 Best Workplaces Survey showed clear differences in the way they managed their people during the recession and significant differences in the levels of engagement they sustained. Communication became more important than ever, as did clarity of purpose and the role everyone had in achieving organisation goals and objectives,” Roberston explains.
“‘We’re all in this together’ was the rallying cry for many and 2009 became a great opportunity to demonstrate what ‘values’ really meant in practice. We’ve heard stories from organisations who experienced the benefits of an engaged workforce as people responded with performance that went way above the norm.”
The bottom line? If communication was not the currency for commercial success, then organisations like the Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) would not have implemented personal development programmes to enhance communication skills.
For information on how you or your staff members can attend courses including Communicate, Influence, Adapt using the TetraMap of Behaviour through the EMA, visit www.ema.co.nz