Thursday, 9 June 2011

When Information Is No Longer Enough...

Have you noticed colleagues literally disappearing around you? No, not by magic, but because they leave the company (well, that is what they pretend, but in reality, it is more likely they are leaving their boss – possibly even YOU?).
In the most extreme cases, people have been known to “absent themselves” by committing suicide.
This particular tragedy happened recently to a manager I know.  Can you imagine yourself in such a situation? Would you still sleep at night?  Although it sounds extreme, in the complex, fast changing, ambiguous world in which we live, this sort of situation is less and less a “low-occurrence possibility” and more and more a well identified risk.

How would you tackle this risk?

Well … by recognizing that there is a big difference between communicating to engage and communicating to inform

“We do not communicate enough! I don’t know what is going on!” is the usual refrain from frustrated managers.

Sounds familiar? But think about it. If your team really wanted to get ‘information’, they would all trawl through the annual report and browse your corporate intranet in order to access the tons of data there. Do they do that?  No.

People say “I want more information” but in reality, they mean “I want to be engaged, to feel part of a system”.

The challenge is that dealing with information is not that difficult, but engaging people emotionally is somewhat new for most leaders.

In some of the companies we are working with at Pentacle,  “proximity communication” and “corporate connections” have become key phrases. They have two important dimensions:
- transforming all leaders (ie: anyone who has people reporting to him/her) into better communicators. This is often based on quick, on-the-spot, training on engagement techniques …

- supplying regular “engaging” information to them, as the “fuel” for monthly connection meetings they are asked to lead themselves, with two objectives in mind: developing the sense of being part of a whole, and creating an open dialogue.

I know, this sounds absurd to ask team leaders in factories for example to stop a production process for 30 minutes for a ‘connection meeting’, to recognise that all need to be good communicators, to realise that open dialogue is a must.  But, do you know what? Companies we are working with are experiencing tangible results … and we, at Pentacle, are ready to explain how…

It’s time to talk!