Communicate Like a General

Communicate Like a General


What in the hell are you talking about?  Since when is that how we do this?  What do you mean the pricing changed?  Huh?  Why?   WTF!!??


If your crew spends more time running around like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off instead of functioning like a well oiled machine, there may be a good reason.  And it’s not the people you are managing.  The harsh truth is it might be you.  


Very few tools in business are as important as the art of communicating effectively.  You can have all the knowledge and know-how, but if you can’t get that point across to your team, it’s all in vain.  People can’t execute on items they don’t understand, right?  


So let’s buckle up and take a good hard look at some of the more common issues we all face as business owners.  Take a look at a few of the most glaring communication mistakes and how to avoid them.


You are the Expert.  So You Assume Everyone Else is as Well.


This is probably one of the more common communication mistakes because it’s simply extremely easy to fall into this trap.  Managers and owners are strapped for time.  It’s quite natural to start to shorten your training brief with team members when it’s the 200th time you have had to say it.  Who wouldn’t get sick of this, right?  But it’s something that is absolutely imperative to running an efficient business.   


The more you shorten your explanations and expectations to your team or new employees, the more likely you will be right back to explaining it again to an entirely new group in a month or so.  And around and around we go, right down the toilet.


I Already Told You How to Do It


Exactly.  It was told.  But it probably was not terribly clear.  Maybe it was simply a lot to digest all in one sitting.  And here is the key to most of our communication issues:  There was no written down explanation to refer to once you have moved onto talking to someone else. Verbal direction is great.  It’s emotional, it’s heartfelt and it’s more interactive.  But if there is no manual or document to refer to once it’s all over, then your chances for error have just increased dramatically.


I Don’t Care What He Said, This Is What We Are Doing


It never ceases to amaze me how many times middle management or partners have no idea what the other one is up to.  Or don’t agree with it and decide to just make their own move, leaving the workers in the crossfire.  In boot camp, drill instructors like to tag team one recruit with different orders in order to purposely stress them out.  The only reason your business should be operating like this is if your goal is the same: creating a common enemy for the team to unite against.  Needless to say, this may not be in your organization’s best interest lol.


Communication is tough.  Each team member has different and unique motivating factors and their own methods of learning too.  That being said, there are a few things you can do on your end to minimize the damage your haphazard and chaotic management style unleashes on your business.


Write It Down


As, write it ALL down.  Yearly goals.  Processes for completed tasks.  Procedures for opening and closing your office.  All of it.  100%.   Nothing left unwritten.  This is extremely important for two reasons.  First, it assures that your team has access to answers when no one is there to ask.  Second, it creates accountability.  As in, “It was written down in the manual, where is the confusion?”


A great resources for setting up these procedures is:


Hold Court


This one seems self explanatory, but the amount of businesses whose managers and owners  become overwhelmed at the day to day duties and negate to hold one weekly meeting is at near epidemic numbers.  


Create a standard day and time of the week, and stick to it.  STICK TO IT.  Consistency is key in business, and if you can’t get consistent with your planning, you are going to remain as reactionary as a game of whack-a-mole in the operational side of things.  And whether it’s an ipad or a physical notepad, make sure it goes with you from week to week.  If the issues from last week are not addressed, then they still need to be addressed.  So address them.  And don’t end the meeting until a solid game plan is organized.


Need some help?


Study Up


Another one that may sound a bit redundant, but so true in so many cases.  Do you understand how a new product is going to function and can explain it in a quick, succinct manner?  Do you know the pricing of all of your products in your catalog?  Not quite fair to expect everyone else to know this if you don’t, right?  Right.  And nothing will destroy team unity and loyalty like a leader that doesn’t understand the attack plan.


Burning Both Ends of the Candle


Some communication HAS to be done during daylight because it’s only acceptable during business hours.  Phone calls and other communication that requires direct human to human conversations NEED to be prioritized over other items that can be done after hours such as internal memos and outgoing emails.


On the other side, some communication, until completed, with grind your operation to a standstill.  When the your team can’t move until you make up your mind, that communication needs to go straight to the top.


So there ya have it.  A few of the ways we all struggle to give great communication and some simple solutions and resources to help us all lead better.  So grab the books, document your processes and start leading your team like they need to be led.  
Like a man on a mission where failure is not an option.

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