At the beginning of the year I set a goal to improve communication across the entire company, from the way we communicate to our customers to the way we communicate among the management team, the way management communicates with team members, and how team members communicate with each other. We invested in formal training, and had a summer outing with an Olympics theme which turned out to be an excellent team building opportunity.
The additional emphasis on communication has had a positive impact on performance as well as morale. Great ideas have been shared and implemented, team members have expressed interest in various areas, and as a result have had the opportunity to do more and in some cases get promoted. When others see the positive impact they tend to become more engaged, which further improves the effectiveness of the team.
Not only have I made an effort to get out on the floor in an informal way, I have also been meeting one-on-one with individual team members. I am always impressed with the the energy and enthusiasm I see during my discussions. I have yet to finish a meeting without learning something, getting a great idea or just getting to know someone a little better. What a great use of time, not to mention a lot of fun. I really enjoy the people I work with; they are smart, focused, hard working and overall great people.
In my mind, you can’t over-communicate. I must admit, I was a bit surprised to see just how much people appreciate open and honest communication. Recently one of my teammates told me how much he and his peers appreciate my monthly email update. “They are huge,” he said. Before I started writing them I did not think they would be important to most, and honestly, wondered if most people would pay attention. The feedback I received was very encouraging.
I’ve not only learned a great deal about our team, but about myself professionally. I have become a better leader, and have a clearer vision of what is important to our team and customers. What started as just one of many initiatives to improve the company has turned out to be one of the most important, yielding upside in more areas than I had imagined. Kind of a no brainer for a guy who loves to talk.