Are You Communicating Clearly In Your Company?

Are You Communicating Clearly In Your Company?

Here’s a typical workspace scenario:

You’ve got a mandated deadline coming up and you need help from one of your teammates.

You send an email detailing what you need. You go over to her desk to chat about it and she’s out, so you put a sticky note on her monitor that says:post-it-note

For you, ASAP means by the end of the day. For her, it means before the end of the week. She’s got a lot on her plate, and you’re kind of springing it on her.

Assumptions and ambiguity are dictating this situation because people interpret information differently.*

With the ability to build awareness, understanding, acceptance, and commitment, communication is essential tool for all organizations.

Organizational Communication

Essentially, organizational communication is the exchange of information within an organization, both internally and externally. It’s a crucial administrative function, which employees at all levels spend a significant amount of time on.

Parts include:

  • the organization
  • the message
  • the organization member(s)
  • and feedback.

Organizational Culture

Within all organizations, there is an organizational culture, shown in the freedom (or lack thereof) in decision making and presenting new ideas, in how power and information flows through the organization’s hierarchy, in how an organization conducts business, and in how the leaders treat employees, customers, and the community.

An organization’s culture and communication drives how the organization deals with challenges and change, both of where are absolutely going to happen.

Challenges

Katherine Miller describes some typical problems that organizations face: “lack of management support, top managers forcing change, inconsistent action by key managers, unrealistic expectations, lack of meaningful participation, poor communication, purpose of program was not clear, and responsibility for change was not properly identified”

Miller goes on to say that when it comes to change, employees either own it, resist, or are left confused. Consider the complexity of the communication process at work, which is ideally managed by logic and emotions are left out, but “anyone who has spent any time in an organization recognizes how inaccurate [that] really is” because after all “our interactions are often governed by hot emotion rather than cool logic.”

Consider situations of communication and culture in your organization. How is important, urgent information communicated? Are you reprimanded for coming in late with yelling or passive aggressive messages? What if you need help with your increasing workload? Do you hear about company changes from your leader or through the rumor mill? How are communication misunderstandings resolved?

Another issue to address is your organization’s approach to crisis communication. Whether it’s a natural disaster, a scandal, fielding questions from the media, or a very angry and unhappy customer?

One suggested best practice is to manage challenges and conflicts is to pause and try to think logically first about what is best for the client, then what is best for the company.

For more insight on Organizational Communication, check out this video:

What are your Organizational Communication best practices? How do you drive excellence within your organization?

*Example adapted from article at chron.com http://smallbusiness.chron.com/examples-organization-communication-breakdown-61551.html
Research & Citations:
Altınöz, Mehmet. “An Overall Approach To The Communication Of Organizations In Conventional And Virtual Offices.” International Journal Of Social Sciences 4.3 (2009): 217-223. Academic Search Complete. Web. 30 Nov. 2013.
Arnold, Esther, and Narbal Silva. “Perceptions Of Organizational Communication Processes In Quality Management.” Psicología (02549247) 29.1 (2011): 153-174. Academic Search Complete. Web. 30 Nov. 2013.
Miller, Katherine. Organizational Communication: Approaches and Processes. Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.
photo credit: Beth77 via photopin cc
photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc
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