When results aren’t running as expected, profits declining, customer complaints rising, employee morale slipping; where does a manager look to find the cause?
If the results relate to dollars and cents we often leap to the idea of cutting costs or raising revenue or fixing a broken process. If it’s customer satisfaction we jump on product quality, or maybe we start heading in the right direction, our customer service team’s performance. If it’s an employee morale issue we look at the culture, or specific events that may have triggered some negative employee feelings toward management or owners or each other. Again we start drifting in the right direction, performance.
However, we often incorrectly define the situation as a problem of organizational performance. What we frequently forget is that performance is personal before it is organizational, and what your people are, or are not doing, is directly affecting results. How do you zero in on the personal performance issue?
There are many aspects of personal performance we could focus on, but two seem particularly important and they’re not job skills so much as they are life skills; building productive relationships, and communicating effectively.
You knit together your entire organization through formal and informal communications. Communication about anything from mission, vision, and values to individual performance expectations must be clear, concise, received, fully understood, and converted to specific actions by the intended recipients. If that doesn’t happen your people won’t know what is expected and may end up performing unnecessary tasks and demonstrating inappropriate behaviors, or not performing necessary tasks or demonstrating desired behaviors.
Effective communication contributes to the formation of productive relationships between employees, between managers and direct reports, between customer representatives and clients, between the business and the community, and … well any connection involving two or more people. Giving attention to effective communication throughout your organization is a good place to start resolving performance issues and getting those results back to what was expected, and beyond, but this isn’t an easy task.
Many organizations have tried repeatedly to improve communications without success. If you want to learn more about an approach that has proved successful in numerous situations, try this link AlEx and visit the contact page to ask me about improving communications in your business. After all, communication is just another one of those better business basics!