“The most important thing about communication is to hear what isn’t being said.” – Peter Drucker
The improvement of management communication is something that is ongoing in every organization. Advances in technology, like web-conferencing, cloud computing, and mobile devices have helped increase efficiency, but their impact on organizational effectiveness is something that is not quite so clear. It’s pretty much a guarantee that if the wrong communication is delivered, the end result will be that the wrong tasks get done. The fastest way to effective communication is through the implementation of objectives.
Management by objectives is best defined as the allocation of tasks that are put in place to achieve specific goals. Author Stephen Covey outlined this management style in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by writing about it being a beginning with the end in mind. With no true goals in place, the entire team, from executives all the way down, falls into a trap known as management by inertia. That management style means focusing on the now rather than thinking about the real goals. The only way to stay on the right path is to execute an effective communication process.
Here are a couple of management styles to compare:
A business in the Food & Services industry:
Goal: Work hard every day and maintain productivity.
Communication from Management:
Manager: “Your goal today Chef is to make sure that you keep cooking food to ensure that every order gets filled properly. If you see anyone struggling, be sure to jump in and help.”
Chef: I am completely exhausted. I spent the entire day cooking food, a good portion of which ended up being wasted because we didn’t need it. All of that good food is now in the trash because that’s what the manager wanted. I was also unable to get to my other tasks because I had to pick up the slack of others. I am completely frustrated and feel as though I am not getting the help I need.
Big Name Company in the Hotels Industry
Goal: Make sure every guest has a truly memorable experience.
Manager: Robert, today I would like you to do what this hotel has become known for, which means making sure the guests have everything they need. I had a guest tell me yesterday how you had gone out of your way to deliver a magazine that they really wanted. Do your very best to re-create that experience to day and report back to me at the end of your shift.
Robert: I was delighted to hear that I had received a customer compliment. Getting that feedback lets me know that I am doing something right and makes my job that much more enjoyable. I understand that if I perform my job well, it will reflect positively on the hotel. The more guests we have, the more opportunities I have to make them happy, which is what my job is all about.
It should be obvious which of the two companies listed above has their communication straight. The hotel makes it clear to employees what the company objective is and what each individual can do to play their part in that success.
If the company objectives are made perfectly clear, employees can then focus on working towards those goals, whilst also finding ways to improve their skills and decision making along the way. Positive results tend to lead to employees striving to continue to perform better and will encourage them to become more creative in the pursuit of goals.
Management by objectives is definitely the way to go, but it only works if effective communication is in place. There has to be a separation of what the individual loves to do and what is actually required of them. In order to do that, the core objectives have to be as clear as the ways in which they are communicated.