When it Comes to Office Communication, Old School is Still King

Smartphones might give you more ways to communicate with your team, but it falls short of effective communication methods.

DOES TECHNOLOGY connect us together better than duct tape on a warm summer’s day? Smartphones are awfully sticky and difficult from which to disengage, perhaps worse than duct tape! But make no mistake, technology that provides tools like E-mail, texting, Skype, Web access, CRM or social media will not “connect” you to associates or employees as tightly as duct tape. To really be connected you must employ a new acronym, O.S.I.S.C.: Old School Is Still Cool!

We had a high-powered executive client who wasn’t “connecting” with a direct report and was wondering if that person really belonged on her team. I happened to know that individual from a previous career and believed he could contribute a great deal. The issue was a matter of not understanding how to connect with his communication style. We managed to get them in sync and they have been a great team ever since.

To connect you have to slow down and recognize that while our technology for communicating has grown exponentially in the past 15 years, our reptilian brain has not. People want to communicate face-to-face (F2F), receive feedback in person, share new ideas with their teams and get some recognition. F2F is all but lost in the technology tool shed of today’s fast-paced world. Should we all just accept the fact we can’t make a difference at our company?

Not really; you just need to slow down. But that’s easier said than done, right? Think about how you want to connect and communicate, and then how you actually communicate. Do you take time to stroll around just to see how people are doing, or is it always about a business, a project or a customer issue?

If money is the root of all evil, then good communication is the root of all good companies.

We work with clients on communication – or rather lack of communication – more often than any other soft skillset. If money is the root of all evil, then good communication is the root of all good companies. Let’s do a quick evaluation to determine if your company has strong, fair or poor communication skills. You might have a communication connection problem if:

  • you regularly spend time wearing a referee shirt and whistle at work.
  • your “office politics” result in unproductive behavior
  • your company can’t hang on to good employees.
  • your company has trouble finding good employees.
  • your workflow processes have gaps into which customers regularly fall.
  • your installation, operations and sales teams don’t send each other Christmas cards.

If you recognize your company in four or five of these areas, you probably have poor communication connection problems. This prognosis does not have to be fatal; although it can be if left untreated. It’s time to adopt a healthier business lifestyle and embrace better communication.


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Assess & Address Steps to Greater Stickiness

The treatment, like any good solution, isn’t a quick-fix solution but a process that takes some time but provides a superior outcome. Here are some simple but effective steps:

  • “Get to Know Me!” was a Jon Lovitz skit on “Saturday Night Live,” but it offers the critical piece in connected communication: get to know your team. Get to know their individual communication styles. We use DiSC (dominance, influence, steadiness, conscientiousness) profile tools to accomplish this task.
  • Use the right assessment tools to help you understand the communication styles and behaviors of your team and your leadership. This also can help you better understand the opportunities to improve connectivity with direct reports. It doesn’t mean you have to build a campfire and sing Kumbaya while holding hands. It does mean spending more F2F time.
  • Train your department heads and supervisors to “read” and communicate effectively with the different communication styles exhibited on their team.
  • Work as cross-functional teams to examine your workflow processes to eliminate redundancy, waste and issues that result in poor customer service.
  • Solve problems faster by connecting more with teammates and, more importantly, with your customers.
  • Improve communication to reduce workplace stress, build camaraderie and improve the health of your employees . . . and the health of your bottom line.

Improving how your team connects and communicates has significant long-term advantages to your business and growth plans. So why haven’t you addressed this vital competitive advantage?

If you are saying, “I don’t have time” – wrong answer! Connected communication is really a brilliant time management tool. We see it every day with clients that have committed themselves to improving their communication skills as a competitive advantage. What’s even more surprising is it works for the entire company. Can you visualize a 3%-5% jump in everyone’s productivity without hiring more people? Then it’s time to get busy duct taping.

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About the Author

Contact:

Paul C. Boucherle, Certified Protection Professional (CPP) and Certified Sherpa Coach (CSC), is Security Sales & Integration’s “Business Fitness” columnist. A principal of Matterhorn Consulting, he has more than 30 years of diverse security and safety industry experience including UL central station operations, risk-vulnerability assessments, strategic security program design and management of industry convergence challenges. Boucherle has successfully guided top-tier companies in achieving enhanced ROI resulting from improved sales and operational management techniques. He is a charismatic speaker and educator on a wide range of critical topics relating to the security industry of today and an accomplished corporate strategist and marketer whose vision and expertise in business performance have driven notable enterprise growth in the security industry sector.

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