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OCTOBER 2012





The Power of Communication?

Ruben Estrada

In business people communicate all the time. In fact, I would venture to say that if we failed to communicate then our businesses would fail. Now that is a bit extreme, however it is true; so true that many business owners take this communication stuff seriously. (Which we all should). Communication is no different than any other discipline of business that should have clear systems. "What? Systems for communication? Now aren't you taking this systems stuff a bit too far?" some would say. However, once they understand the difference between structured & non-structured communications then the importance of communications as a system becomes very clear.

Let's start with traditional non-structured communications. When I ask business owners to explain for me their systems for structured communication I normally hear things like, "We have staff meetings every week." Good, but when we dig in a bit and learn what is discussed in those staff meetings and what gets accomplished in those meetings we normally find them to be company update meetings with some problem solving. Most delegated action items do not get logged anywhere for follow up, so it is common for the same topic to come up for discussion for weeks with no resolution. If this were a staff meeting built on the rules of structured communication, each meeting would have an agenda.

Only 20% of the meeting would be about the past, i.e., project updates etc, and 80% would be strategizing on the future, new goals or initiatives for the department, employee develop-
ment opportunities or needs and budget adjustments or considerations as examples. The secretary would keep log of all new approved initiatives by person responsible and targeted start date and the meeting minutes would be distributed by the end of that same business day.

Beyond staff meetings, companies structure their communication by emailing a regular newsletter giving all employees an update on the company. Other methods of structured communication are one-on-one coaching sessions with executives and their managers; managers with their employees. When implemented with the rules of structured communication, each one on one session will have an agenda. It will spend 80% looking at the future, have a clear method to monitor what the employee said they were going to do and by when and ensure clear and mutual understanding of items delegated. So, I guess if I were to try to simplify what structured communication is, I would say that structured communication is scheduled, routine, a bit predictable and focused primarily on the future with clear documentation of all actions employees, including leadership, commit to get done.

Imagine if this were your organization, an organization where everyone is on the same page and had clear goals and objectives? An organization that is focused on improving/ enhancing the organization vs. coming up with excuses for the past? Well, I think this is or could be your organization if you were to implement some simple structured communication practices. Then you will realize the full power of communication.

Should you feel you are in need of assistance to implement these systems in your business, contact your Estrada CEO Coach or visit www.EstradaStrategies.com to request a free consultation.

EstradaWritten by: Ruben Estrada, President/CEO Estrada Strategies Franchise Inc. A National Network of CEO Coaches. We help the small to mid-sized business owner to think, act, and perform like successful CEO's. Ruben@EstradaStrategies.com www.EstradaStrategies.com - or - 909-476-3510

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