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Are Your Communication Issues An Excuse for Doing What You Want? (The Million Dollar Question)

Short post today, but a nice reminder based on something I heard on the street last week.

A company and organization has communication issues, perhaps worsened by multiple locations, time zones Failure-to-communicate and a global business spanning multiple cultures/norms.

Then people do things without communicating with others across those time zones.

When that happens, is that a communication issue (based on locations, time zones and different cultures) or simply people doing what they want under the label/rationalization "we need to improve communication?"

It's the million dollar question anywhere there's communication dysfunction.  Sometimes you have to start blaming the people, not the organization's challenges.

People are smart and opportunistic. If an organization with communication challenges has multiple tribes or just some renegade individual contributors, you can bet that people are doing what they want from time to time, knowing that it will get tagged as a "opportunity to improve communications".  
The right answer? Setting the expectation that it's the responsibility of the department or manager to over-communicate on important stuff that might cause friction to ensure a feedback loop.

When you see it, you have to confront it and demand people get better at creating that feedback loop.

Otherwise, you're a victim to people doing what they want - and the communication issues never improve.

Don't be a victim.

Comments

Elyssa Thome

This is huge. From experience, important stuff needs to be over-communicated, but emails can be deleted and follow up is key. Tasking managers with follow through significantly improves the likelihood anyone listens. The problem I've run across is when the department manager is the renegade.

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