Every problem small business owners face in their workplace can be directly linked to a communication issue.
If you were to ask employees in a workplace what things need to be improved communication is always among the top three answers.
As a number of small business CEOs told me at a seminar and networking session a couple of weeks ago, “communication is something we can always improve.”
Yet, communication rarely improves in too many workplaces.
Here’s a simple three-step process to improve communication in any small business workplace:
The primary reason communication problems perpetuate in organizations is because they are not clearly defined. It is hard to take action to improve something when the problem is not identified. The only way to clearly define the issues is to get people in a room together to discuss the ways communication is a problem for everyone. Simply ask these questions:
- “What are your biggest frustrations with communication in our workplace?”
- “Describe a recent situation where communication broke down and caused problems with productivity?”
- “How would you describe the communication problems you experience in our work environment?”
After capturing everyone’s answers you will find that there are a lot of similarly related items and they will need to be chunked into like categories, then prioritized.
- Decide which communication priorities to commit to working on.
- Decide whom on the staff is going to research the issue, identify possible solutions to implement.
- Decide on a deadline for reporting back with strategies.
After defining and deciding, it’s time to commit to refining communication as it presently exists and implement the strategies defined and decided on to improve communication in your workplace. Refining communication in any workplace can be a challenge because of past practices people are used to in the environment and individual personal habits of communication.
Whatever changes in workplace communication are decided will require a commitment from the highest levels of leadership in the company to lead the way.
Company leaders must commit to being the role model for the communication improvements necessary in their workplace and must create and commit to a system for accountability to the new approach to communication.
Without that commitment at the highest levels, the initiative will fail and the frustrations with communication in your workplace will continue.