Life at work is so much more effective. I mean we now have tools that allow us to shoot out messages from our keyboard or phone … messages that we used king there’s no question that today’s methods enable us to deliver messages or gather input in a faster manner and this saves time. At the same time, however, it just may make sense for us to consider at what cost.
A recent article in the University of Auckland addresses “The True Cost of Poor Communication”. Key points made by Nick Read of the university are these:
- While effective communication is essential for success, our ability to achieve that is impaired by the volume of communication we face.
- The basic intent of effective communication hasn’t changed. Rather it is the extreme volume of written communication that is encompassed in our job and the resulting writing and reading we do in haste.
- It is little wonder poor communication can lead to increased stress, poor decision-making, muddied audit trails, legal disputes and business losses.
- Clear communication can be achieved using a mix of evidence-based tools, techniques and strategies.
In moving from organization to organization it becomes more and more apparent that there is, indeed, a cost. Here are a few of the things that work against communication at its best:
Emails and texts are fast. We think we know what we want to say and set out to do it … as fast as possible because we have much to do including more emails and texts. The potential is there for incomplete messages and the related lack of understanding on the part of recipients
There is no assurance that what we might send off in a quickly composed email has the needed and desired clarity to assure that all recipients understand the message as intended. Thus, the potential is much greater to see people head off in different directions based on their individual understanding and not necessarily the intended understanding. This increases the opportunity and need for wasted time, dollars and frustration on the part of all.
Communicating via email or text does convey our message or request however it does not provide us with the assurance that recipients have agreed with the message or agreed to the request. So we move on making an assumption that all is good and happening and only find out later that we’re off base.
Envision yourself sitting in a department or team meeting wherein a project is being introduced and discussed. At the end of that meeting the goal is that every involved person leaves understanding and committed to what is to be achieved and what needs to happen to accomplish the goal. Now replace that real meeting with an email communicating the same things and inviting any person with questions to go back to the sender for clarification. But why should you? You do believe you understand the message and set out to do your part. Unfortunately all the parts don’t often jive and we’re then at a point requiring rework and the related lost time and frustration.
From this day forward we will be introduced to new ways and options as to how we can function faster, with greater efficiency and thus, at a lower cost. And yet without closely looking at the impact of what new methodology can have on other areas of successful endeavors is to potentially reduce rather than strengthen the very success that we are striving to attain.
It’s something akin to one doctor prescribing a medicine for your ailment without knowing what another doctor has you taking to treat something only to discover that the two meds don’t work well together. Although the intention is good, diminishing your wellbeing is not going to be a benefit to your overall health. The latest and greatest will only be that because we consider it as related to overall goals.