Communicate and Prosper

Written by Helen Wilkie

How much has poor communication cost your company inrepparttar past twelve months? Chances are, you have no idea. Chances are even better it's a lot more than you can afford.

But you won’t findrepparttar 119453 numbers inrepparttar 119454 financial statements or year-end departmental reports. Nothing shows up saying "lost productivity due to miserable meetings" or "missed business opportunities through sorry selling skills" or "employee quit because there's no communication around here."

Why? Because most people aren't sure what communication really is.

Consider this: When companies conduct internal needs assessments, communication virtually always surfaces nearrepparttar 119455 top ofrepparttar 119456 list. But if you ask ten people who put it onrepparttar 119457 list exactly what they meant, you’ll get ten different answers. People often can’t pinpointrepparttar 119458 problem—they just have a vague feeling communication isn’t happening. Unfortunately, this vagueness relegates communication torepparttar 119459 bottom ofrepparttar 119460 action list.

Truth is, communication isn't some warm and fuzzy "nice to have"— it is nothing less thanrepparttar 119461 lifeblood of your organization. If blood doesn’t circulate at justrepparttar 119462 right pressure and speed to all parts and extremities ofrepparttar 119463 human body, that body sickens and eventually dies. So, too, does an organization where communication doesn't flow freely.

Communication isn’t limited to vision and mission statements fromrepparttar 119464 top; it’s not just news releases publicizing financial results or new product announcements; it’s not just internal or client newsletters, annual reports or videotaped messages torepparttar 119465 troops. These are all important, but they form just a fraction ofrepparttar 119466 communication—and miscommunication—that takes place every day inrepparttar 119467 workplace.

What I call applied communication is written, spoken and non-verbal interaction among people in order to get things done. It takes co-operation to create a product. It takes collaboration to approach a new market. It takes teamwork to implement a strategy. It takes this applied communication to oil and runrepparttar 119468 machinery of business. And if that machinery breaks down—as it often does—a great deal of money is lost. It's in this area, applied communication, that we need to look forrepparttar 119469 financial drain.

Loss of time

What does your time costrepparttar 119470 company for each hour you are at work? A good rule of thumb in calculating hourly cost is: annual salary divided by 2000 (based on 50 40-hour weeks). When you know this figure for your own time as well as that of your staff, you can begin to calculaterepparttar 119471 cost of applied communication at work.

Meetings Regardless of its purpose, a meeting is an exercise in applied communication: you speak, you listen, you interact. I’ve never met anyone in business who has not complained about meetings: too many, too long, too boring. I would add to that: too expensive.

Consider meetings that are supposed to last an hour but somehow expand to use up most ofrepparttar 119472 afternoon. Calculaterepparttar 119473 hourly cost of total participant time and multiply byrepparttar 119474 length ofrepparttar 119475 meeting—and keep in mind thatrepparttar 119476 higher levelrepparttar 119477 participantsrepparttar 119478 more expensiverepparttar 119479 time. The result may not sound too alarming, until you consider how many of those meetings take place in your organization every day, every week, every year. Dorepparttar 119480 arithmetic.

Correspondence Letters, reports, memos, and nowrepparttar 119481 ubiquitous e-mail—written communication is an integral part of doing business. Unfortunately, statistics show that corporate employees spend altogether too much time writing it, and badly at that, so that those onrepparttar 119482 receiving end spend too much time reading it!

7 Strategies for Sustained Innovation

Written by Dr. Robert Karlsberg and Dr. Jane Adler

The need for constant reinvention is a given in today’s business environment. And while a breakthrough product or concept can catapult an organization ahead of its competitors, in these fast-paced times, that advantage is often short-lived. 

While major product or service breakthroughs make headlines, it’srepparttar steady incremental innovations made by employees every day that give an organizationrepparttar 119452 sustained growth it needs.

Sustained innovation comes from developing a collective sense of purpose; from unleashingrepparttar 119453 creativity of people throughout your organization and from teaching them how to recognize unconventional opportunities.  

As innovative ideas surface, a clear sense of mission empowers front-line employees to act on new ideas that further your company’s purpose. 

It Starts atrepparttar 119454 Top

Leaders createrepparttar 119455 psychological environment that fosters sustained innovation at all levels. The challenge is that as an organization grows, management structures and bureaucracies, designed to channel growth, tend to create barriers to small-scale enhancements. 

While there are exceptions, in larger organizations employees tend to feel removed fromrepparttar 119456 function of innovation and are less likely to take independent action or offer revolutionary ideas.

The commitment to establishingrepparttar 119457 right psychological conditions for innovation needs to start atrepparttar 119458 top. This means that, as a leader, you need to consider your own assumptions about innovation and their role in creating and changing your organization’s culture.

You need to appreciaterepparttar 119459 value of incremental as well as major innovations, understandrepparttar 119460 psychology of innovation and takerepparttar 119461 lead in promoting an innovative culture. Otherwise, it’s just not going to happen. While your organization’s innovative capability depends on multiple factors, there are several steps you can take to createrepparttar 119462 psychological conditions that favor inventive thinking, regardless of your industry orrepparttar 119463 size of your organization.

Establish A Clear Sense of Direction

Changing cultures involves changing minds, and that takes time. But as with any initiative, a clear sense ofrepparttar 119464 target helps to speedrepparttar 119465 journey.

Your organization’s mission helps to organize and directrepparttar 119466 creativity of its people. What isrepparttar 119467 purpose of consistent innovation in your enterprise? Is it to add customer value to existing products and services…to speed delivery…to increase on-time arrivals? 

Having a clearly articulated message allows everyone to focus on innovation where it can deliverrepparttar 119468 greatest value. Innovation, as Peter Drucker has defined it, means creating a new dimension of performance. A sense of mission clarifiesrepparttar 119469 direction of performance and helps determine which new ideas to focus on.

Open Communication

Open communication between management and employees setsrepparttar 119470 stage for an atmosphere of trust. But if you want to establish a new, more trusting culture, you can’t expect employees to takerepparttar 119471 first step. 

Company leadership initiatesrepparttar 119472 process of open communication by sharing information with employees on a regular basis. This includes good news and bad. 

Southwest Airlines policy of sharing information enabledrepparttar 119473 company to weatherrepparttar 119474 sudden increase in fuel costs duringrepparttar 119475 1990-91 Gulf War. The company kept everyone informed as fuel prices soared. Southwest’s CEO Herb Kelleher sent a memo to pilots asking for their help. Through inventive thinking,repparttar 119476 pilots found ways to rapidly drop fuel consumption without compromising safety or service.           

Leaders of organizations that sustain innovation offer multiple opportunities for communication.

While not every company can offer an open-door policy for its senior executives, or even a chance for regular face-to-face contact, every organization can institute programs that enable front-line workers to feel heard. From CEO lunches with cross-sections of employees, to monthly division meetings between employees andrepparttar 119477 general manager, to open intranet forums for idea sharing and feedback, leaders can communicate their openness to hearing innovative ideas from those who are closest torepparttar 119478 customer.

Reduce bureaucracy 

While larger organizations are often considered less entrepreneurial and inventive than their smaller counterparts, it’s notrepparttar 119479 size of your company that inhibits innovation -- it’srepparttar 119480 systems. Bureaucracy slows down action and is a serious impediment to innovation.

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