Communication as a Strategy

In my role as a speaker/trainer/consultant, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a large number of organizations across all industries. Each has a tendency to think that it is genuinely unique in its pursuit of success. However, over the years, I have found it to be quite evident that where you find people, you find common threads. It’s the nature of the beast … regardless of the size of the organization.

Most companies divide their leadership into three groups.

  1. Upper Management—top leadership, decision and policy makers.
  2. Middle Management—those who act as a buffer between the other two while trying to execute strategies.
  3. First-line Supervision—those who act as an ambassador between leadership as a whole and the front-line staff who actually carries out the tasks.

If you could sit down with members from each group and discuss the challenges and short comings of the organization, I’m certain you would find a major common thread. In most cases, the group you are talking to will readily admit that any blame and/or faults which may exist can be found in the other two groups! It never fails. Here’s a sample of many of the comments I hear from each of the three groups … regardless of their age, size, industry, product, or service.

Upper Management

  • Supervisors and managers are not communicating effectively.
  • Supervisors are not providing leadership on management issues.
  • They are not confident they know the vision/goals/objectives of the corporation.

Middle Managers

  • They are not sure of corporate direction.
  • They are not sure they can trust information provided to them.
  • They are not sure what to communicate.
  • The tend to treat supervisors as just another worker.
  • They are working extremely hard—making little progress.

First-line Supervisors

  • They feel unempowered.
  • They are disenfranchised—not members of management.
  • They are not sure what is really expected.
  • They are not sure they can trust information provided to them.
  • They don’t trust upper management (two levels above).
  • They don’t feel they have answers for subordinates.

Having heard that kind of feedback, what conclusions might you come to?

The list could easily be a long one, but you would have to agree that the majority of the items on that list should be classified under the title of communication. However, in most cases, the organizations either don’t recognize the common denominator or fail to address it as a critical issue.

Tom Peters, famed author and consultant, says, “The older I get, the less boring the BASICS become!” Maybe the problem arises in the fact that good communication is no longer considered a basic.

About Harry K. Jones

Harry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services. Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management. For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.

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