Get the Word Out

My life has become pretty full these days. I’ve got a wonderful wife, Joelle, and four very active children at home. I am helping lead our business into a new level of maturity and growth and am amazed at how I get to watch this thing morph and unfold on its own, as I see colleagues press into their expertise. Our clients occupy a lot of my headspace these days too. As they experience changes and endure good times and bad alike, I find myself thinking through a lot of their challenges, imaging their business as my own and creating solutions, that I would personally feel confident implementing, to save/grow/develop their business.

In all of this, I have seen a consistent thread that I’ve thankfully learned not to ignore anymore. That’s the power in effective communication. When we think about effective communication, buzzwords fly from every direction and old PowerPoint presentations at dated conferences come back to mind. But I thinking about this differently now. Here are a couple of revelations I’ve had on communicating that have significantly helped me in the last 90 days. Take them for what you will but know it’s a fact that you will fail, if you fail to communicate.

  • Communication is oxygen to teams. Refuse them of it, and they’ll suffocate. Do it over and over and over, and you’ll create an atmosphere of life and health rivaling the Amazon Rainforest.
  • Recognize the importance of uniformity – When you’ve got something important to share, be sure everyone is in the room who needs to hear it. Don’t rely on your memory to go find each person individually and tell them – you’ll forget someone. You just will. And then they’ll think it was intentional you forgot them. Recognize your limits, get your team/clients/even your family in the same room and share the same consistent message. Side benefit: it also happens to be the #1 killer of gossip.
  • Learn when to be brief and when to be thorough. Yes, I suppose it’s true you can be both – but realistically, I think that’s only possible about 5% of the time. Be brief on the little things – showing up 5 minutes late, eating a coworker’s lunch. Take time and move slowly for the harder, bigger things – change of leadership, mergers, growing the business 25% in three years…
  • When to email and when to call. The bottom line is – don’t be a jerk – you know the times when an email is easier, but mostly that just translates to “an email is easier for me.” It would be easier for them to receive a call. To hear it from you directly. To know you are invested in their growth or that you care about them more than the dollar value they represent.

All in all – I’ve been putting these things specifically to practice over the last 3 months and have seen positive changes in every area I mentioned before. My clients know that I want their businesses to not only survive but be wildly successful. My colleagues and I mutually respect each other and use one another as sounding boards, even if the other person has no tie to my project. All of this is happening, because we’ve been learning to communicate more effectively.

Last thing – I know I am probably only on about step 3 of 10 myself, but this type of work takes time. It’s like strength training – you have to build it up. It doesn’t arrive in a neat package from Amazon on your doorstep. Invest the effort. The return will be more than you can imagine.

About the Author

+Geoff Chinnock is a principal at Morrison, providing business planning (including budgeting, cash flow forecasting, strategic planning), feasibility studies, interim executive CFO services, and special projects that don't fit into any conventional category. You can contact Geoff directly at gchinnock@morrisonco.net or via telephone at 530-893-4764 ext. 204.

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