Communicate now, or perish

COMMUNICATION is the lifeblood of an organisation. Workgroups or teams thrive and prosper on a good diet of effective communications. How effective are the communications that affect your work group or team? Consider the checklist below and answer these two questions: What needs to happen? What could you do better? • The reasons for and the benefits of improving internal and external communication are agreed. • You explore where, how, when, with whom and why communication is breaking down. The nature, format and timing of the communication requirements of all team members are agreed and effectively provided. • The nature, format and timing of individual communication needs, where they differ from the team, are agreed and effectively provided. • Your instructions, requests and directions are clear and concise. You consult with other areas to agree your and their communication requirements. • Ways to improve communication with other areas that affect the way you do your work are explored and followed through. • The causes of instances where communications are untimely, inaccurate or insufficient are identified, explored and resolved. • Pending changes are discussed as soon as you are aware of them. • You seek co-operation from higher levels/other areas in relation to the nature, format and timing of communications you require from them. • Formal lines of communication between you and your internal customers/suppliers are established and followed. • Information is continuously sought from your internal and/or external customers so you can find, develop and implement new and better ways to function as a team. • You receive information regularly about your customers’ requirements and about any changes they may have. You use this information to ensure you are satisfying their needs and requirements. • The positive and negative consequences of the methods you use to communicate – both formally and informally – are discussed and incorporated into improvements. • You check to see what actions or information are required to assist your day-to-day operations. • You discuss ‘grapevine’ issues with both management and team members. • You seek information from others on issues about which you are unclear. • The strategies and key objectives of your area and individual contributions are clarified and communicated. • You seek feedback on ways to improve your personal communication style. • You consult with others about decisions which will affect them before the decision is made. • You take responsibility for your own communication needs. • Information flow between team members and the team leader (both ways) is effective. • New, different and better ways to improve communication are implemented and followed through. If you would like information on a system and tools designed to achieve this and much more, see and click on 3. Team Performance.

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