“…innovation… requires the ability to collaborate and share ideas with other people… get their feedback and understand their needs.” – Bill Gates

As mentioned in my last post, creating space for meaningful communication starts with YOU; but without participants who share the common goal of resolving an issue, while moving the organization toward positive outcomes, there is little chance for true communication (meaningful or otherwise) to take place. Strategic planning and problem resolution often require innovative thinking; identifying alternate possibilities, understanding the various aspects of a situation and bringing new ideas to the table. Ideas and suggestions are neither right nor wrong; but in daring to be labeled wrong… you run the risk of being right.

Ingredient #2: Strategic Team Building

Choosing team members is an essential aspect in setting the tone for meaningful communication. Decisions made and mandated in a vacuum are often detrimental to the health of an organization; negatively affecting employee morale, consumer confidence and financial viability.

Each team member should represent at least one “touch point” (area of contact with the customer or process) identified in the situation under review. In general, all team members, regardless of their function, should have the common goal of protecting the mission of the organization by aligning processes, procedures and personnel action to meet the stated objectives. With clear objectives in mind, each should freely present theories, ideas, concerns and suggestions in efforts of reaching an optimal solution. But, as an individual member, knowing why you are at the table helps to prepare you for your role in the process.

“Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”  – Vince Lombardi  

Example: If a customer service issue has yielded several online complaints, initial team members may consist of representatives from these touch points: operations, customer care, supervisor/management, and consumer data solutions. After reviewing the situation and hearing from each team members for perspective, it may be concluded that the customer complaints are not the result of process inadequacies. In that case, a new team with a different function may need to convene. This time, representatives may include human resources, supervisory or management presence and the employee(s) implicated in the complaint data.  

Gleaning from a variety of perspectives in a given situation is an important element in making targeted process and/or personnel adjustments and finding sustainable solutions to facilitate optimal outcomes. Partnering with individuals who are not afraid to share their perspectives and who have the organization’s goals and objectives at the forefront of their decision making is often a luxury… but meaningful communication starts one person at a time.

In situations involving widespread organizational change, the “one person” at the helm is ideally the leader of the entire organization. Senior leaders who value what their team members bring to the table are more successful than those who attempt to be expert in every area. Trust in your senior leadership and trust in your management team often starts with a decision; and is a topic for another time. For now, …

“Collaboration is a key part of the success of any organization; executed through a clearly defined vision and mission and based on transparency and constant communication.”  – Dinesh Paliwal

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