Monthly Archives: July 2017

How communication can block the message


Communication is a part of everything, everyday, everywhere, for everyone. Why is it also the source of many conflicts and misunderstandings? Communications tend to be one-sided or incomplete. Often, we’re so busy preparing to speak that we don’t really listen. Send a quick email and check the box, they’re done. we’ve communicated. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really work that way.

 “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”       ~George Bernard Shaw

The reality is that effective communication is the key to:

  • moving any project forward
  • leading teams and organizations
  • marketing and sales
  • procurement and planning
  • smooth operations
  • influencing culture

If we’re not deliberate in both what we communicate and how we do it, we’ll often fall short and possibly jeopardize the desired outcome. There are several communication pitfalls that anyone can find themselves tangled up in without much effort. If they’re not thinking broadly enough about communications as sent or received, it can create more problems than it solves. A common communication pitfall is the failure to consider the perspective of the audience.

For example, I have recently found myself feeling as though my son was attempting to manipulate me when I was told that if I didn’t act (by allowing another pet in our household), an undesirable outcome would happen (a puppy would die). The way it was stated, it came across as though the outcome would be my fault even though, until that moment, I had not been part of the decision for someone else to breed dogs nor had I previously assumed any responsibility for the litter. It had never been discussed. While I was assured that it wasn’t intended to come across that way, I felt as though the responsibility for the fate of that puppy was being laid at my feet without my consent. This communication was not well received. My son and his best friend didn’t consider the perspective of their audience.

 “To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.”                                                                                              ~Anthony Robbins

Another example is when communication is not broad enough. There is a dedicated and driven team leader who works hard, solves problems and gets his team engaged in making improvements. All excellent traits for a leader. They’ve forged ahead with change after change, communicating upwards openly about these improvements, but not as much with the rest of the team. To the people who are impacted by yet another, in a series of changes, it was being done without their consent. Since this wasn’t the first time, they’re now irritated that no one asked them if they had ideas, questions or concerns. Since no one reached out, they felt left out. The dedicated team leader, a good man with a good heart, never intended to create this dynamic. They were just trying to help make it better for everyone. It wasn’t that the other opinions weren’t welcome, the communication gap wasn’t visible.

In both examples, taking time to think about how to best communicate could have avoided unintended consequences. Reaching out to the people that need to buy into the desired outcome will always help to navigate the issue. Always consider who will be receiving the communication. Ask yourself how will they hear the message you plan to share. Communicate often and early. Elicit the ideas and concerns of others. If there is going to be change involved, transparency is essential.

While bad communication can and will make you miserable, it is avoidable.

What’s your story?

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Why Leadership is Tied to Freedom

kristopher-roller-188180-cropped.jpgOn the 4th of July, American’s will once again celebrate our nation’s birthday. The freedom we blindly take for granted today was the result of stand-on-the-edge-of-the-cliff, all-in, leadership. For these courageous men, failure was not an option. When they concluded the Declaration of Independence as shown below, they demonstrated that they understood and embraced the gravity of the path before them. Our founding fathers took the final leap with their eyes wide open believing their cause was worth everything…

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

~The Declaration of Independence

We are blessed with free speech, yet some would corrupt it and use it as a weapon of hate to shout down those who might not agree. We have fake news and bias so prevalent that it has become difficult to know who to trust in the media. We see hate that comes from leaders corrupting a cause and devolving their followers into a weapon of destruction. We know community organizers rally those who buy into a promise of something in it for them to the detriment of others.

Shared Judeo-Christian values brought us together to become a nation. These values were rooted in the 10 Commandments and interwoven throughout our judicial system. Respect for life, honesty, integrity, self-control and respecting the rights and property of others aren’t in opposition to other religions. Everyone has the freedom to worship as their conscience guides them. But, without the strong threads of common social values to bind us together, we’re at risk of tearing apart the fabric of our nation.

As leaders of our businesses, communities, churches, mosques and families, do we fully appreciate the precious gift of freedom that we were given? Freedom begins with equality under the law. However, beyond that there is a higher calling to do what’s morally right because these are the values that made us a great nation. It takes real leadership to stand up and consistently do the right thing, not only for yourself, but for your country.

Our nation’s leaders must also take this to heart. When they act without integrity, respect for others, violate the law, lie or fail to represent their constituency, they’re also tearing us apart. When we fail to hold them accountable, allow them to make some groups more equal than others or buy into the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) mindset, we accelerate the destruction of our national heritage and our freedom.

Today we once again stand on the edge of the cliff waiting to see if we can once again find common ground to bind us together. Every person that has the privilege to call themselves a citizen of our nation carries a responsibility to remember what brought us together in 1776 and exemplify our American values.

Would you pledge your life, your fortune and your sacred honor to uphold the values that make America work? If so, please share this article.

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Filed under American History, Blessings, Business, History, Leadership, Management and Leadership, Noteworthy Quotes, political, Uncategorized