Communicate and Prosper

Written by Helen Wilkie

Continued from page 1

If a $40,000-a-year employee spends just two hours a day reading, writing and managing e-mail, that’s a $9,000 annual cost. Judging from what people tell me about their work habits, two hours a day is a conservative estimate. And what about those at much higher salary levels who spend much longer writing every day? Dorepparttar arithmetic.

Presentations People at all levels present information in a variety of settings inrepparttar 119453 workplace every day. These presentations not only consume many hours inrepparttar 119454 creation and preparation, but alsorepparttar 119455 expensive time of those who must listen to them. Unfortunately, poor presentation skills often result in a futile exercise that communicates less than a simple written report. How many useless presentations take place in a major corporation every day? Dorepparttar 119456 arithmetic.

Loss of business

Sometimes salespeople know their "pitch" so well that they totally ignore any input a prospective customer might give them. They barely shake hands and sit down before they start talking. They blithely prescribe their product or service asrepparttar 119457 cure for a problem, without even finding out if such a problem even exists.

But an effective sales process is, in fact, a conversation, a two-way exercise in applied communication. Done poorly, it can result in lost sales and missed opportunity for ongoing business relationships.

Customer loss doesn’t happen only inrepparttar 119458 sales process, but can also be spurred by an inept "customer service" exchange. When someone calls to complain,repparttar 119459 client relationship is at a fragile point. It can be repaired throughrepparttar 119460 right message well delivered, or broken beyond repair by poor communication. When we considerrepparttar 119461 total lifetime value of a customer relationship, we can truly appreciaterepparttar 119462 real dollar cost of poor communication.

Loss of people

Whatever people tell their bosses about their reasons for leavingrepparttar 119463 company, exit interviews often tell a different story. One ofrepparttar 119464 most common reasons cited is that they don’t feel anyone listened to them.

Day after day inrepparttar 119465 workplace, millions of people go throughrepparttar 119466 motions of talking with each other in person and onrepparttar 119467 phone, constantly connected through technology, and never truly communicating with one another. Study after study tells us that recognition and respect are more motivating than money, and one ofrepparttar 119468 best ways to show people they are valued is to listen to them. Sadly, listening is probablyrepparttar 119469 most underused of allrepparttar 119470 communication skills.

So people leave. How much then does it cost to replace them? Studies give a wide range, from a low of 25% of salary, plus benefits, to a whopping 150%. Employee replacement represents yet another huge cost that can at least sometimes be charged to poor communication.

By improvingrepparttar 119471 way people (and I mean people at all levels) interact in order to get things done, we can increase productivity—with its attendant positive impact onrepparttar 119472 bottom line.

Helen Wilkie is a professional keynote speaker, workshop facilitator and author whose latest book is "The Hidden Profit Center—a tale of profits lost and found through communication." For more articles and other information, visit While you're there, sign up for Communi-keys and receive monthly communication techniques directly from Helen.

7 Strategies for Sustained Innovation

Written by Dr. Robert Karlsberg and Dr. Jane Adler

Continued from page 1

Smaller organizations can often move faster on implementing innovative ideas because they have less bureaucracy. When Jack Welch was reengineering General Electric he said, “My goal is to getrepparttar small company’s soul and small company’s speed inside our big company.”

Faster implementation encourages further inventive thinking. Think for a minute. If you had an idea for an innovation, and it required 6 weeks to clear channels and another 3 weeks to get funding, would you have lost any impetus for further contribution?

Instill A Sense of Ownership 

An ownership mentality creates a powerful incentive for inventive thinking. When an individual is clearly aware of how his or her interests are aligned with those ofrepparttar 119452 company, he or she has a strong reason to “gorepparttar 119453 extra mile” to furtherrepparttar 119454 mission.

Stock ownership is a significant, if not essential, incentive for employees. However on its own, profit-sharing doesn’t guarantee your employees will think like owners. 

When employees don’t see how their individual efforts affect company profitability, they tend to be passive and reactive. To encourage greater involvement, make sure each employee knows how his or her work affects company performance.

Southwest gave pilotsrepparttar 119455 freedom to design and implement a plan to reduce fuel consumption because they were inrepparttar 119456 best position to determine what would be effective. Pilots pitched in enthusiastically because they understoodrepparttar 119457 impact their actions had onrepparttar 119458 bottom-line and ultimately, on their own futures.

Make Sure Recognition and Rewards are Consistent 

While financial rewards are often tied to innovations, rewarding onlyrepparttar 119459 individual or team responsible forrepparttar 119460 “big idea” or its implementation, sets up a subtle competitive atmosphere that discouragesrepparttar 119461 smaller, less dramatic improvements. 

Even team-based compensation can be counterproductive if teams are set up to compete with each other for rewards. These incentives discouragerepparttar 119462 cross functional collaboration so critical to maximal performance. 

Companies that successfully foster an innovation culture design rewards that reinforcerepparttar 119463 culture they want to establish. If your organization values integrated solutions, you cannot compensate team leaders based on unit performance. If your company values development of new leaders, you cannot base rewards on short-term performance. 

A Tolerance for Risk and Failure 

Tolerating a certain degree of failure as a necessary part of growth is an important part of encouraging innovation. Innovation is a risk. Employees won’t take risks unless they understand goals clearly, have a clear but flexible framework in which to operate and understand that failures are recognized as simply steps inrepparttar 119464 learning process.

Toyota’s Production System transfers quality management and innovation authority to front-line plant workers. Workers are able to make adjustments in their work if they see an opportunity for improvement. Ifrepparttar 119465 innovation works, it’s incorporated into operations, if not, it’s chalked up to experience.

A major psychological benefit of Toyota’s method isrepparttar 119466 development of trust. Employees who trust their bosses are more likely to take intelligent risks that have potential benefit forrepparttar 119467 company. 

Eliminate Projects and Processes that Don’t Work 

As your organization innovates you need to practice what Peter Drucker calls “creative abandonment.” Projects and processes that no longer contribute should be abandoned to make room for new, progressive activities. 

While no organization wants to squander financial resources on unprofitable activities, it is actuallyrepparttar 119468 irreplaceable resource of time and employee energy that is wasted if a company holds on torepparttar 119469 old way of doing things.   

Innovation requires optimism. It’s about an attitude of continually reaching for higher performance. You can’t expect employees to maintain an optimistic attitude if they feel compelled to continue in activities that are going nowhere. 

© 2005 Dr. Robert Karlsberg & Dr. Jane Adler 

Dr. Robert Karlsberg and Dr. Jane Adler are senior leadership consultants and founders of Strategic Leadership LLC. They work with senior executives to maximize performance, facilitate transitions and accelerate major change initiatives. Contact them at 301-530-5611 or visit

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