Have you ever heard that communication is a problem inside your organization? Usually it is a red herring for something else. Maybe employees don’t know where the company’s North Star is. Maybe the company doesn’t have clear goals. Watch the video to see how “communication” is rarely the real issue.

Have you ever heard that communication is a problem inside your organization?

I was speaking to a gentleman earlier in a company, and he was telling me about his organization and what’s working, and what’s not. And they’ve recently done an employee survey, and one of the things that they found out in the survey was that they had poor communication inside their organization.

Well, when I heard that I kinda laughed, and I see that in almost every company that I’ve worked with. As we’re sitting down, and I’m helping them, or I’m asking them to identify what the higher level issues are, poor communication always comes up as one of the key items. Like I had said, laughing I said to them, you seriously think that, that’s the issue? That communication is the issue, and how do you solve something like that? The reality of it is, is it’s usually a red herring, communication is a red herring for something else.

It’s usually masking other issues that are behind it, so I asked him, I said, what do you think that is? And he laughed and he said, I think it has worked pretty good at being able to kinda communicate out into the organization. He said, I think, but people feel like when they kinda try and communicate back, it’s not clear or communicating across their peers.

So they end up in this silos, people driving these activities, and stuff like that. And really when as we peel that apart, what I help them see and help them understand, it’s really a confusion around, what are all our goals? What is our north star? What is my roles and responsibilities as an individual, and can I attach to the larger goals of the business? And when I can’t do that and I’m coming in day in and day out, and I’m not able to tell you exactly what I’m supposed to be doing, however I’m feeling overwhelmed, I feel very busy.

I’m sitting in meetings where half the people are on mental field trips, some of the people are just sitting there doodling on paper, and two or three people are doing most of the talking. Get up and leave the meeting, there aren’t any really actions, or outcomes that are coming from that.

Well, when all that confusion and all that stuff starts to happen, people aren’t great at describing those are the issues that need to be solved, and so it just gets kinda wrapped with this thing of communication, we have poor communication. So, what do you think is the cause of, and what it is at the core of, when you hear we’ve got poor communication?