Posted by: johnocunningham | August 8, 2016

What Makes a Workplace Work: Communications Are Key

A couple of articles that recently popped up on my social networks have given me cause to think about how critical communications are to workplace productivity and stability.

On the positive side, I noticed a Harvard Business Review article, based on surveys of hundreds of successful executives, which highlighted the six virtues most commonly seen by executives as critical to success. The article, entitled, “Creating the Best Workplace on Earth,” discussed the importance of the following virtues:

  1. Letting People Be Authentically Themselves
  2. Unleashing Information Flow
  3. Magnifying People’s Strengths
  4. Standing for More than Shareholder Value/Profit
  5. Showing How Daily Work Makes Sense and Makes a Difference
  6. Articulating Rules/Policies that People Can Believe In

It is interesting to note that 2/3 of those virtues are very dependent on communication.

  1. Unleashing information flow necessitates an understanding of how information is shared organizationally, how it can be better shared, and who needs to share it with whom.
  2. Standing for more than shareholder value at an organizational level requires the ability to find and articulate a meaningful driver and motivator for employees that is part and parcel of the organization’s mission and values
  3. Showing how daily work makes sense and makes a difference at an individual level similarly requires the ability to listen to and understand workers while describing the function and importance of their individual roles in a way that connects them meaningfully to the organization’s mission and objectives
  4. Articulating rules and policies that people can believe in is also dependent on the ability to develop and communicate rules in a way that workers will enthusiastically support while helping to police themselves for the good of all, as well as the organization

On the other hand, a negative view of what NOT to do can be found in a recent publication at Above the Law, which was entitled, “Three Factors that Make Law Firms So Toxic.” This article stressed the factors found as critical by Law360, which are:

  1. Inconsistent feedback, yet another communication issue
  2. Lack of opportunity for growth
  3. Lack of openness and transparency, which often stems from or is symptomatic of a lack of communication

It is pretty clear that both organizational productivity and failure are dependent in large part on communication issues. If you want to communicate well, you might want to invest in a professional who can help you achieve that critical objective in order to be more productive and more stable as well.


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