Do you have confidence in your employees to handle their responsibilities and get their assignments done properly?
Many of the small business owners that I work with struggle with developing a team of employees that reliably get the job done. It may seem like an obvious point, but businesses and organizations that communicate effectively and whose employees handle their responsibilities and assignments properly are at a tremendous advantage to their competition. So be honest—how well does your organization communicate?
Think about a recent failure… a production mistake, a marketing disaster, or whatever the case may be. What went wrong? Most of the time, poor communication is to blame, as opposed to individual failure. In other words, it’s much more likely that, somewhere in the chain of communication, the instructions were misunderstood or lost altogether than it is that any employee failed to carry out his or her responsibilities.
The key to keeping your business running smoothly is clear communication.
Every time instructions are given, an opportunity for misunderstanding occurs. If your instructions are relayed several times down the chain of command, there’s a strong chance that something will get lost along the way. Peter Bregman of the Harvard Business Review, along with many other experts, suggests solving this problem by using some form of a checklist. Bregman recommends a “handoff checklist” which should be used each time information and responsibility regarding a task or project is exchanged, featuring questions like:
- What do you understand the priorities to be?
- What concerns or ideas do you have that have not already been mentioned?
- What are your key next steps, and by when do you plan to accomplish them?
The goal is to ensure that each exchange of information is accurate. Obviously, each organization should develop their own version of the checklist to address their specific needs. It may seem like overkill, but think of the headaches you could avoid if miscommunication was no longer a problem.
Even if you don’t adopt a checklist, the main point I want you to take away from this is that an effective workplace requires clear communication. Going the extra mile to make sure that your instructions are clear and that those responsible understand what you’re expecting will save you time and frustration. It will enable you to delegate a task and feel confident that it will be done properly. At the end of the day, clear communications enable you to better serve your clients… and that’s what we’re all after.
How do you ensure clear communication in your workplace? Share a tip with our audience in the comment section below!