Young woman gossiping to her male colleague at the
The bad news is you can’t control all the communication that takes place in your organization. But, you have to try. In the article, Executives: Get Top Performance from Your Contractors and Remote Teams by Communicating Culture, I wrote about how important it is that your workers at home, in other countries, and even in other states are made a part of your company’s culture through communication. Conversely, if that communication doesn’t have ground rules and adherence to them, misrepresented or misinterpreted voice and digital communication can cause catastrophic breakdowns in relationships and processes. This is what you need to do — (and DMAIC the system regularly: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control, or you won’t keep control): All the news that is important to share with your peers and employees (both good and bad, internal and external) should be shared by you, not anyone else. Kick the email habit…
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Stressed businesswoman
For most executives, performing employee evaluations is a necessary evil — highly important but low on personal priority list. For employees they are usually stressful, filled with mixed messages (a bit of praise, a bit of criticism — neither of which are constructive input), and ultimately uninspiring, if not downright deflating. The most valuable use of an employee review is what’s typically missing: constructive input. What you want your employees to take away from every review is: performance improvement, job satisfaction, employee retention and refreshed motivation. Those characteristics are not born of the praise/criticize cycle, but of collaborative goal setting, problem-solving, and encouragement for innovation. Here’s how to break out of the “pointless review” cycle and into the “let’s work even better” cycle. A few weeks before the performance review, ask the employee to write down: The top three achievements he made that year that he found fulfilling and the…
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Giuseppe Lovecchio
Business communications problems are at the heart of Operational Excellence performance. Statistics say that about 90% of time spent by managers is devoted to communication, so it is paramount to be prepared on this topic. Of this communication, we know that about 70% is non-verbal, in terms of motion, posture, eye contact, and so on. Emotional intelligence can help to overcome the types of non-performing attitude that can result from bad communication. Additionally, in a multicultural environment, it is key to understand cultural barriers and how to overcome them through robust communication approaches. Another key point in business communication is the use of “verbal” or “text” communication. Especially in a supplier/customer relationship, it is important to understand what communication channel the supplier or the customer prefers. In this way, the communication is facilitated because there is a capacity for adaptation. Communication is not an easy task, especially in this interconnected…
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MetaExpert Richard Vales
Because I work in a variety of industries, the communications problems vary to some degree but it appears to me that it comes down to perception. For example, the CEO sends a directive throughout the company regarding costs and most department heads will interpret or translate that as “don’t spend more than what was budgeted,” rather than doing a proactive review of the spend and questioning how they got here. This opens the door for me to provide support to analyze their spend, and to provide alternatives to deliver efficiency to drive costs down. What I see as an internal problem can be adjusted by collaboration and solid support. Most department heads are solely focused on the day-to-day and have never conducted a transformational restructuring, it is my job to set expectations that will ensure a smooth roll-out without impacting their business. This has occurred on more than a few…
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MetaExpert Peter Brust
Without a doubt, the worst communication problem that undermines Operational Excellence initiatives is the overuse of acronyms, buzzwords, jargon and foreign phrases. For some reason consultants and other “experts” believe that renaming concepts, techniques and activities will magically make them new again and better than they are. Nowhere is this more egregious than in the Lean arena where basic industrial engineering tools and everyday terms are presented in Japanese. For years I’ve seen machinists, operators, shop leads, and foremen, roll their eyes as they are introduced to a whole lexicon of “new” ideas/words (sometimes they are even written in Kanji script!). The best way to communicate effectively, especially when working with the people on the value-added side of the business, is to: 1) Use plain English (or the prevailing native language). 2) Use everyday words instead of technical/exact terms, e.g. say “average” instead of “mean”. 3) Don’t introduce new terms/words/acronyms…
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MetaExpert Bob Forshay
Operational Excellence includes having a few clear objectives, supported by continuously monitored strategy execution, managed by unified cross-functional and simple metrics facilitated at each level, strategically, tactically and operationally with transparency and accountability. In order to achieve operational excellence, an organization must first be willing to stop doing some of the things it has been doing historically, thereby making room for new ideas and practices.  The communication must be one of readiness and commitment to change.  This requires active change management and open dialogue.  The readiness matrix below is an excellent example of this.  Next, the organization must be committed to addressing the gaps by investing in new skills and processes designed to create competitive advantage.  If a new initiative is not achieving the desired results, most often it can be traced back to communication and accountability.   MetaExperts Go/No-Go Assessment As applied by CSCTA program, MetaOps As most any…
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E. Micheal Gray
The number one problem I see is lack of clarity on the problem statement. Executives are particularly poor at the practice of clearly articulating a fact-based statement about ‘what problem we are solving?’ What hurts? How much? I call it Executive Jeopardy. Like the TV game show, where they tell you the answer and you have to guess what the question is. Execs are notorious for telling team members, go do x. It feels like real leadership to bark orders, to be the expert, right? Not so much. On the employee side, because specialists live in a world of details, process and rules, they often hear the do x and jump straight to the fastest and most expedient way to accomplish the execs OpEx idea, whether it is related to the cause of the pain or not. Hold back, it is not unreasonable to ask clarifying questions of your execs.…
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young company business woman looking at employees
Internal presentations usually take all the qualities of bad meetings and make them worse. Of course, some meetings have extreme value. Likewise, some internal presentations are essential. For example, if your division needs to go through a process re-engineering that requires a hefty budget increase and stakeholder buy-in, a succinct and solid presentation of the rationale behind the change and the benefits it will return may be advisable.  Conversely, your team members need to implement the re-engineering. It’s their job. You shouldn’t have to sell it to them with a presentation. Clearly, there may be training involved for your team. That’s different. If you create time-intensive presentations about the process and expectations, you’re not going to achieve what you want: individual and group comprehension and empowerment. Here’s why: Internal presentations are inherently ‘talk at, not with’ in nature. In that regard, they are even less engaging than too many meetings…
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Politician liar gives people impossible promises with fingers crossed on his back.
The academic domain of this subject is the school for ethics. You make promises every day — promises to your workforce, promises to your clients and customers, promises to your supply chain vendors, promises to your stakeholders. They receive your promises with good faith they will be fulfilled, and anticipate that event. Two good characteristics bind your relationships: trust and integrity. Commitment drift. That’s a gentle term Elizabeth Doty of Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics used to describe the opposite of integrity in promise-making. If you don’t fulfill your promises to staff, clients, vendors, and stakeholders, they aren’t likely to use as nice a term, and you will lose their trust and your integrity. In the Lean Six Sigma world of business commitments, there are seven fundamental strategies that will keep you from making empty promises that could quickly cost you your customer and client loyalty, the support…
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Businessman holding his hand on his lips
Every decision you make results in change. Change generates uncertainty and anxiety for your team members. A decision that demands change without the courtesy of detailing the rationale behind it exacerbates that anxiety into controversy and mistrust: the perfect formula for resistance, every time. There are seven steps to making a decision effectively according to the standard cognitive thinking teachings of most universities: Identify and understand the constitution of the decision. Gather the information you need to support (or disclaim) the rationale for the decision. Recognize and assess alternative decisions that develop. Weigh the information and alternatives to prioritize decision possibilities. Use this to choose the best alternative. Start to implement the final decision. Actively monitor and review the results and consequences of the decision. Follow this process to both arrive at the best decision in a business re-engineering scenario, and to make you an authority on the rationale for…
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