“When it comes to improving performance, most
organizations' problems can be traced to their inability to think and
talk together at critical moments.” — Paraphrased from William
Isaacs's book Dialogue, p.3
What passes as “communication” in most organizations is nothing more
than people talking at each other. Firing different opinions around a
room with little structure to productively move any action forward. The
conversation is dysfunctional — meaning that it doesn't produce a
deeper understanding of the issues at hand. Eventually, when a decision
must be made, it's often the person who has spoken the loudest,
longest, or with the most conviction that wins — whether it was the
best idea or not.
Something to consider:
To vet truly great ideas, you've got to stress-test them with a
group. An example is a process called “the gauntlet” that I developed
with one of my clients. Once a good idea bubbles to the top of a
conversation, each member of the team must do his/her best to put it
through the ringer by pointing out weaknesses in a respectful yet
rigorous manner. Everyone's ideas are subjected to the gauntlet — no
one gets a free pass. If the idea makes it through the process,
everyone agrees to put their weight behind making it happen.
Something to try:
To develop better communication in your teams, use this basic checklist:
1. Respect others' opinions.
2. Make sure everyone has a voice in key decisions.
3. Encourage members to suspend judgment in order for everyone to be heard.
4. Make it a standard practice that all ideas are up for scrutiny — and develop a process to ensure this happens.
5. When a decision is reached, put a specific, time-bound course of action in place.
Question: What structures do you put in place to make communication work? [Fast Company]