Clear communication and common understanding

Today’s post is part 2 of a 4 part series. The first in the series introduced some key components of effective teams. In this post, I am focusing on the first component: Clear communication and common understanding.

Video transcript:

Hello and welcome to the next video blog for CHC Consulting. I’m Sue Carr CEO.

This is a time when leaders are challenged to step up and be authentic and genuine. How leaders lead during these times will impact their organization now and in the years to come as we move through the pandemic phase into economic recovery.

I have mentioned in several posts the importance of communication. In this post, I am taking this a bit deeper.

We are familiar with the analogy of a rowing team in a multi person scull in perfect synchronicity due to the precise instructions of the cox.  The skill and coordination of the entire team is what separates those who cross the finish line first from those finishing well behind. The similarities to business are clear.

When teams truly share how the goals and objectives are operationalized in the real world or putting into practice the words on paper, great things can happen. When there are even small levels of disconnection among the team regarding  how the processes will actually occur,  we hit snags that at a minimum slow us down from optimal performance to at worst have us going in circles or in the opposite direction.

One of the reasons I like to use horses in the experiential group training sessions is horses have an innate ability to quickly understand and react to teams where there are even very small aspects of disconnection within the team. Horses are herd animals and their survival depends on clear communication and common understanding of each other and their environment. They can sense when human teams are not on the same page and they react to the conflicting views.

In the absence of access to horses to tell you if your team is on the same page with common understanding of what needs to happen, you can use other means.

One option is to have a thorough conversation with the team about how each person sees the process, including what benefits and challenges they anticipate, or questions they may have. This will help communicate where the finish line, or objective, is and have everyone rowing in the same direction.

 Another strategy is to do a complete walk through of several scenarios, examining each of the touch points. Spending time looking at the flow process may provide insight on areas to be streamlined. Discussing the purpose behind each step is helpful in identifying areas of duplication. As we move to reopening and ramping up our activities it is an ideal time to examine past processes as well and new ones.

Doing this more in depth discussion will not only have everyone rowing towards the finish line, but helps communicate the rhythm, keeping all team members in sync with each other towards the shared objectives and goals.

The final strategy leaders to try with their teams to support communication and holding a shared understanding provides some fun and creativity while providing valuable information to build cohesiveness and synchronicity within the team. Assign each team member a different “hat” to wear during a discussion such as the two options outlined above.   Each “hat” represents the perspective of a stakeholder in the process. These could range from customer, potential customer, community member, staff, funder/ investor, regulatory body, etc. Think of as many different roles as you can. Then switch up roles and vary the process parameters.

To add fun and help with the creativity encourage each member to actually put on a hat of some sort, ideally relevant to the role being assumed in each session.

With the team all working together, understanding each other’s role in the overall process and ensuring the process is clear and each step adds to the overall process, the goals and objectives and manageable. Team members understand how their actions support the overall and those of their team. Collaboration and cohesiveness flow which supports effectiveness and efficiency for the whole organization.

This sets the stage for mutual respect, the topic for my next post this month.

To learn more about how CHC consulting can support your team, visit our website at or email us to set up a discussion time at [email protected]

#covid19 #workplacewellness #hr #leadership #workfromhome #management #team #workstress #stress #humanresources #reopening #team #teamplayers #humanresources