Who has the most influence on how well an organization communicates? YOU! The owner and leader of your business.
Your greatest leadership asset is your ability to communicate. Do this well and everything else will fall into place.
What is a system?
A system is simply the way something happens. The way you do anything in your company consists of a system— including communication.
When you have a great communication system you will be able to rely on your employees more, experience less frustration, and increase the happiness of everyone on the team. (Yourself included!)
The first step to communication
Improving communication in your organization starts with listening. Listen to employees, suppliers, shareholders, and most importantly, listen to your customers.
Humans respond best when they feel seen, heard, and understood. The only way to create that sense of trust is to actively listen.
A great listening strategy is to be curious and ask questions to fully understand what the other person is saying.
Acknowledgement is not agreement
One of the most powerful statements to remember when listening is “Acknowledgement is not Agreement”.
You don’t have to agree with what you are hearing nor do you need to comment right away. Simply acknowledge what you hear with a nod. This will take the pressure off having to respond.
A front-line employee will provide you with amazing insight into your own business when you take the time to listen. It is ok when you don’t agree with or like what you hear, remember you are gathering information and making the other person feel valued.
Document your systems
The next step in creating strong communication systems is to document ALL your systems, from Operations, to Finance, to Team, to Marketing.
Essentially a documented system acts as instructions on how to do something.
When company systems are documented it significantly improves communication.
Team members then don’t have to constantly be asking questions on how you want things done. You won’t have to repeat yourself, keep re-training people, and you’ll have less to do because you won’t be the only one who knows how to do everything.
Everyone will have the same knowledge about how things get done. This will reduce frustrations at all levels giving your team the ability to communicate to you and others on the team.
Systems help with communication because they eliminate blame! Now it’s not your employee’s fault for not telling you new stock arrived, it’s actually your stock reporting system that’s not working.
Getting things done through other people requires robust communication and the more that is documented the easier this is. Small business owners often become the bottleneck— stopping or delaying projects due to their inability to fully communicate what they want and need.
As time-consuming and annoying as the process of documentation can be, it has such a high return and will move a business forward much faster.
Documentation is worth every hour you spend doing it.
Imagine not having to do everything yourself because you have clearly communicated the vision, values, and goals of a project. And you have documented the steps to achieving those goals.
Ideas for communication systems
Your communication will increase significantly when you document your systems, although sometimes what we are missing is the actual system for communication.
A systems communication tool can be as simple as a whiteboard or notebook where everyone is encouraged to share their suggestions.
Or you could plan communication meetings daily, weekly, and/or monthly with your team to ensure everyone is on the same page. Keep meetings positive and forward-focused. Let everyone contribute to solutions.
Powerful and profitable!
Communication creates a stronger, more profitable, and enjoyable business for you and everyone involved.
What’s one way you plan on improving communication in your organization? Feel free to share it in the comments!
Until next time, enjoy your Entrepreneurial Journey!