Leadership Article



It is in the Harvard Business School list of behaviors for highly effective leaders - learning. I think it is, at its most essential meaning, the value for learning. We are continually learning, but are we sharing that learning? It can be extremely draining to do but it is absolutely necessary for success to share our information with our team members and peers so that the lessons can be leveraged. Then, the knowledge is an asset and resource to the organization.

Learning the information is one step; the next step is the sharing of it. When we are in the midst of executing innumerable tasks, related to an equal number of projects, it is hard to remember to share or teach the intelligence. I have had the experience of thinking to share information with a co-worker and then thought that I did. But, I had not. Because we are so busy it is important to put in place a protocol or structure to help us do this important part of our work. This will make it easy to remember to do it. I am not suggesting that such a protocol need be complex only that it supports you as a step to complete to meet your objective to communicate in a timely fashion.

Some forms of communication common in larger and dispersed organizations are communiqués done in the form of a written briefing, memos or newsletters. Care must be given to the amount of data conveyed and done with particular criteria set up. To begin with remember that people are pressed for time so short sound bites work best; get to the point and be concise. Also, be certain that it is relevant to the reader, that it is value added, that having the information will impact their work and the leader emphasizes the requirement to read such documents.

Otherwise, meeting to disperse information would work. However, that seems for many smaller organizations a logical choice but not desirable since meetings are viewed as non-value added. Nonetheless, we must communicate to share important information with one another. What is the best way? For small teams, I like informal get- togethers such as a short meeting, say 15 minutes, called when everyone is nearby or available by phone to get the important update. When the team is working on a mission critical project and the deadline is close, these kinds of meetings should be held frequently to ensure all loose ends are being woven together.

It is dangerous to assume that what we have learned is already obvious to others or they already know. Even worse, we believe that we already know all that we need to know to get things done. Being open to new ideas and ways of getting work done more effectively is the cornerstone of innovation. Communicating those ideas effectively is at the heart of an effective and innovative organization.

Is your organization as effective as you want it to be? Do you need help with communications? Karen Mathews & Associates has a proven track record of taking communications to an advanced level. Clients report dramatic results including- helped recover schedule by moving stuck team forward to execute mission critical project in the first session, avoided expensive mistakes and safety mishaps and removed legal exposure by transforming the workplace bully into a star performer.