Today, we continue the series Enterprise founding with the topic on communication. So far, we reviewed the importance of vision, mission and leadership to establish a successful and long-lasting enterprise. Communication is a vital topic because it transports the vision and mission of the leader.
We cannot NOT communicate.
Communication needs the interaction between a minimum of two individuals to exist. You do not need to speak to communicate. In some situation, silence speaks way more than a sentence. It is fascinating to look at communication within organizations and how it is organized, managed and shared (e.g. live, on paper, online, offline).
Let us look at communication in the usual three dimensions: leadership, mitmacher, and the organization. Last time, we established that the leader is the one with an (overall) vision that attracts mitmacher with similar ones. He can be anyone in the company. He wants to get somewhere and gets people involved in the project by communicating with the mitmacher. He prompts them into action by sharing his vision and mission with the mitmacher.
How does a leader communicate?
Many variety of communication approaches exists. The best way for a leader to communicate depends on his / her communication preference & style. Leaders need to hone their way of communicating until they become expert at expressing themselves clearly. There is a great video one hour video from Stanford Graduate School of Business in which Matt Abrahams gives exercises and communication techniques to Think Fast, Talk Smart.
Passion must be communicated effectively. People who talk greatly about things they love are more convincing than the ones talking about things they do not care about. A leader can be truly convincing when the vision and mission are vibrating through him and whatever he does. He/she communicates these in a mix of oral, written and physical (mannerism). The video “The 7 secrets of the greatest speakers in history” gives advice you can use for yourself.
Some people, like Steve Jobs, are obsessed with their vision and mission. They illuminate the room with conviction and do anything to get from point A to point B. This is how they communicate, this is who they are. It also explains why even bad-tempered people follow them, as Marie Forleo says in all her videos: “The world needs that special gift that only you have”. You may be an excellent orator, or visual facilitator, you may write like Proust or sing like Barbara. What is your gift for communication?
Do not look for example of best communicator; find the gift that makes you vibrate and communicate it.
When communicating you need to take into account the recipients of your message because conveying is different from the content. You will not communicate the same information to an engineer than a dancer because one is detail oriented the other one is movement oriented. You can adopt your right vocabulary and information to your public. An effective communication exists when the exchange happens in both ways. Create a two-way communication by asking people if you were clear enough or if they need more information to understand your point. Also ask question to make sure you are understanding their ideas. Rephrase their ideas until they say: “You got me”.
How do mitmachers communicate?
Most of the time, mitmachers come together because they are attracted by the leader’s vision. They join forces, skills and competencies and need to communicate in order to organize themselves. Project management was created to manage the interactions between mitmacher. Sofar, a supervisor needs to coordinate all interactions.
The arrival of tools based on the cloud enables the immediate and easy communication across the world. This enables coordination without the need of a supervisor. Tools such as JIRA, Trello, and Asana to name a few put the project management in the mitmachers hands. We are seeing a transition from the former project management to a more “agile” one. The role of the manager is slowly disappearing. In 20 years time, I would be surprised to hear the manager position still exists.
How do organizations adapt to the new way of communication?
The organization of events, tasks and discussions can now be made readily online, actions are also automatized. The access to important information made available to anyone thanks to a transparent use of new technologies. Transparency is not the strength of current companies who spent decades creating silos. These silos stop communication and create heavy processes. There is a difficult transition from the omniscient manager to the collaborative share of knowledge because it means redefining the way organizations convey their vision. Information is power. Sofar, this led to hiding information within a company to keep an advantage. No surprise that similar projects are lead simultaneously in some companies I worked with. This is a waste of time, resource, and energy.
New technologies enable the communication with hundreds of people at the same time. Mitmacher form circles to achieve specific tasks. These circle are similar to the department we all know with no one is at the top making decisions as the only difference. A direct and simplified communication exists. The Mitmachers no longer need to be managed, they are autonomous.
Communication between managers and their subordinates can be rough. Subordinates feel unheard and decide to use unions to make their point. Managers are unable to speak to their subordinate as equal. They see them as children who need to be told what to do and what to think. A two ways communication is not possible in this situation. The mindset for true communication starts with meeting the other one at an equal level.
I am happy to offer a Communication-and-Interaction-Style analysis to reveal your individual potential or to conduct an Organization Intelligence Analysis to reveal your company’s potential. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
For additional resources
- Think Fast, Talk Smart: Communication Techniques
- The 7 secrets of the greatest speakers in history | Richard Greene | TEDxOrangeCoast
- Communication and Interaction Style analysis
- Organization Intelligence Analysis
Feel free to email me at email@example.com for more information.