Issues in Communication Part 3

Why don’t people listen?

The marketing ideal is to get “The right message to the right people at the right time” and while it works, it is not that easy to do. This is the third in a series looking at communication and some of the issues we face in consulting.

Part 1 covered issues around Hierarchies.

Part 2 covered issues around how you cannot expect that the message you send is the message received.

I put forward five answers to the question. I discuss this communication issue in the context of change initiatives.

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Issues in Communication

Communication is undoubtedly one of the keys to success in almost anything you do. Good communication is valued and poor communication is considered a career breaker. Why is it then that we see so many problems that are attributed to communication breakdowns?

This article discusses three of the systemic and personal issues that make communication difficult in larger organisations. While understanding the issues does not solve the problem it at least helps to know what to look out for.

This article discusses three fundamental issues with communication and provides some real life examples to illustrate these:

  • Organisational structure
  • “My e-mail said precisely what I meant. Why are you reacting this way?”
  • Why don’t people listen?

The first part of this article focuses on how organisational structure affects communication. From what I have seen, this is one of the biggest factors in poor corporate communication. Restructure of an organisation more often precedes implementation of a new strategic direction rather than being in response to the new strategy. Discussion on how communication Context matters and the role of the Participants in communication will follow.

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Consulting

This is a starting point on my new approach to working.

Last month I resigned form Oakton to essentially do nothing. I did that for entirely personal reasons that I will not go into for the moment. What is important is that I have a renewed desire for doing high value consulting work where I can help others make a significant difference.

Here are the things I will focus on:

  • Strategy design and implementation. Working with people to understand organisational purpose, values and what matters most.  Establishing what needs to be done to achieve what is wanted. Then gaining agreement as to how to achieve it all.
  • Business Transformation. Working with organisations who see the need to change what they do and how they do it.
  • Program design and delivery. Designing larger scale initiatives intended to achieve agreed outcomes and objectives. Navigating the uncertainties when you have to take the first steps before you know what the third and subsequent step will look like.
  • Service improvement. Working with people to rethink how business services should best be delivered.
  • Business change. Usually embedded in Business Transformation and Program design, providing a focus on the organisation-level people, process and systems changes that need to be undertaken.
  • Operational performance. Working out what needs to be measured and monitored in order to keep operations aligned with changing business priorities and purpose.

Because this is a change from what I have been doing in the past few years I will also be doing a few things to build relationships with other organisations:

  • Offer services through other companies where I know and trust those companies
  • Offer independent consultancy advice to clients directly where this makes sense
  • Build (once again) a solid personal reputation for delivering value
  • Make a difference to people’s lives

More on this soon …