COMMUNICATION, THE KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL PROJECT (AND BUSINESS)
by Jeanette McCrea
The most critical factor when it comes to managing a successful business and effectively communicating your vision to the rest of the organisation is to ensure that you are not simply managing the people within your business or project environment, but rather are providing coaching and leadership.
Many projects and small businesses deteriorate when Managers fail to effectively share goals with internal and external stakeholders of the business. Effective and open communication provides the basis for a collaborate environment that stimulates behavioural change, drives results, inspires creativity and loyalty.
While Project Managers and business owners get caught up in the day-to-day operations of the project with overflowing email boxes and struggle with time management issues, their business or project is failing and they are unable to see it until it’s too late. They have neglected the one component that pulls the project together… staff and effective communication!
Many critical projects have fallen down because the team has not been aware of crucial information or activities that required urgent attention. Poor communication can often create a tense environment where staff feel frustrated, confused, and devalued. This type of environment creates a breeding ground for distrust and often results in team staff feeling demotivated and unwilling to collaborate. Staff loyalty and commitment become negatively impacted and those team members not willing to live out their careers in this type of work environment, move on to greener pastures. More often than not, they never speak up about their true reason for resigning, leaving Managers to continue on the same path, without making any adjustments.
Therefore, it is crucial that people within the project or business have regular contact and discussions with their Manager. Until Project Managers learn to manage communication flow, their projects will continue to fail.
So, what methods can Managers employ to ensure success?
1. Be proactive
Don’t let problems fester. If a problem arises, address it immediately. Listen to understand the root cause that requires addressing prior to formulating an effective, sustainable solution.
2. Become a Visionary
Look ahead, try to foresee any potential issues that may arise. Ask for team member input and collaboration in formulating and communicating an effective solution to ensure the problem never arises. Team member collaboration goes a long way in creating ownership and loyalty.
3. Coach and Lead your Executive
Actively utilise coaching techniques and ensure your Executive have bought in at every step. Continue to Coach and Lead your Executive ensuring continual feedback and improvement to the process. Make a commitment to the development of their coaching and leadership skills. This way, effective communication will continue to flow through to all team members.
4. Seek to understand your Stakeholders and Customers
Ask regularly whether your product or service is at minimum, meeting their expectations, and if there are any issues that require addressing. Your customers are happiest when they feel you understand them and their needs. Understanding starts when you seek to enter the internal dialogue already going on for them and you show up with a genuine desire to serve.
In practical terms, it is true that most people complain they hate meetings, and the traditional group meeting is not always the most effective form of communication. It can be the personal, anecdotal actions of a Manager that makes the difference. Staying in touch on an individual basis is often more effective than the weekly two-hour meeting where time is wasted catching up on where everyone is at.
It is amazing how many issues can be resolved through regular, informal conversations. Talk to team members regularly over coffee or at their workstation if they are close by or call them if they are in another office just to see how things are going. Make it a daily plan to have contact with at least one member of the team in a large organisation or at least twice weekly in a smaller working environment.
And of course, even though there are many mediums of effectively communication today, it is the friendly chat that is often the most effective. Put away the email, dust off the phone and pick it up. You will be rewarded!
Jeanette is a Senior Financial Analyst at Condon Advisory Group. She specialises in Personal and Corporate Insolvency.