Archive | January, 2011

Comm Series #3: You Are Always Communicating

26 Jan

As a manager or leader you need to understand that you are always communicating and you’re actions speak more loudly than your words.  Many of your people, usually the best, are always watching you and comparing what you say with what you do.

This phenomenon is your say/do ratio.  Here is the idea:  I will do what I say I will do when I say I will do it.  If circumstances change and I cannot deliver, I will inform you as soon as possible. This is an important measure of your effectiveness and is a core trust builder in relationships and organizations.

Consider colleagues for whom their word is their bond and compare them with those who make promises but deliver unpredictability.

Who do you respect?

Who do you trust?

Employee’s, co-workers, managers and colleagues perceptions of the say/do ratio is a key variable in their evaluation your effectiveness.

Covey says that effective people build a “well of trust” through how they treat people and they can draw on this trust in difficult situations. Therefore a high say/do ratio is an investment in your future.

How high is your say/do ratio?

How do you measure and manage it?

This is one of the best pieces of advice I can give.

For more go to Beyond Luck, click on “preview this book” and scroll down to page 12.

Comm Series #2: Principles

19 Jan

The very best of human behavior is principle driven, as compared with thoughtless, impulsive responses to situations.  Exemplary communication needs principles we can test our decisions against to assure we behave in a manner that is consistent and wise.

The over-arching principle of exemplary communication is simple:

The better informed people are, the better they perform.

This is more than a principle and it is also a belief.  As you test your communications competency begin by testing this principle in two parts,

Do you believe it?  and

Do you practice it?

With few exceptions it is better for people to know, than not to know.  One assumption of this series is that people are extraordinary learners.  However, people cannot adapt and learn without timely, accurate information from their environments.

I believe there are few exceptions to this principle and raise it whenever someone is considering what to share.  Please note the answer is not more, but rather what and how.

Comm Series #1: Welcome

12 Jan

to a series of posts that will try to examine every aspect of communication.

” The fundamental task of management is to make people capable of joint performance by giving them common goals, common values, the right structure and the ongoing training and development they need to perform and to respond to change.”

– Peter Drucker

If managing is “a principle driven art” then having a deep understanding of information and communication is an essential aspect of that art. Exemplary communication is the most essential ingredient of effective managing and leading.

Our understanding of leadership has improved markedly in the past few years.  Most people who write cogently about leadership now talk about a life-long developmental process that ultimately produces people who are capable of extraordinary performance in an organizational context.  Communication is an essential ingredient of this performance.

Communication, perhaps with the exception of mathematics, is the most interesting and complex aspect of human cognitive behavior.  In this series will explore all aspects of communication and will try to build a managerial taxonomy of communication that helps you think about and optimize the why, what, when, where and how of your communications style.  As with all blogs your suggestions for topics, sources of information and comments are welcome.  We will begin next week with the most basic principle of communication.

Cicero Speaks

5 Jan

Marcus Tullius Cicero was assassinated on December 7, 43 BCE.  He left behind a substantive body of writing.  Some years ago a colleague shared Cicero’s list of “man’s drastic mistakes.”  I often review them as a reminder.  As you consider your New Year’s resolutions perhaps you will reflect with me on these attributes.

The delusion that individual advancement is made by crushing others

The tendency to worry about things that cannot be changed or corrected.

Insisting that a thing is not possible because we cannot do it ourselves.

Refusing to set aside trivial preferences.

Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.

Neglecting development and refinement of the mind and not acquiring the habit of reading and study.

For a more in-depth discussion of these mistakes go to: