To be (clear) or not to be, that’s the crux of it all

Posted on: Monday, October 8th, 2018

I’m loath to admit it but I, for one, am guilty as charged. Whilst I continually heckle my colleagues to be clear in their instructions, I must berate myself from time to time to taking short-cuts, assuming the recipient of my message or instruction can follow my very own thoughts in all the detailed, at times baroque, logic. Wishful thinking of the highest order, indeed! A surefire way to sow confusion within an organization!

Towards the end of 2017, we had a leadership seminar organized by the affable and talented leadership coach Andrew Weavill. After the pleasantries and intros were out of the way, he stated,

“What I’m going to tell you these next two days is probably already common knowledge to most, if not all, of you, yet, for some reason or other, you tend to forget all about this imperative during the execution of your responsibilities at work.”

One of the tenets of an efficient and well run organization is clarity of communication. Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Yes, it is. However, how often are we truly crystal clear in our communication?

One of the reasons why clarity is often the first casualty of our actions is an assumption of familiarity the audience have with the subject being communicated. If, say, engineers communicate with other engineers, what’s the need to spoon feed one another? (Even the term ‘spoon feed’ makes one cringe, bringing to mind a baby fed by her minder, face all messed up with blitzed food. Surely, we, the pros that we are (!?), needn’t be spoon fed!)

Wrong! Being concise assuming succinctness, using pronouns profusely instead of nouns in our communication, delivering messages and instructions verbally (Chinese whispers, anyone?), heck, what to expect but a burgeoning Tower of Babel?

Making a conscious effort to be clear in our communication will lead to less wasted time and frayed nerves, and eliminate potential loss of business due to late delivery of projects which started off with unclear scope of work.

We are working on it, and it looks like we need to focus to keep clarity on the agenda. Once we let up, old habits will creep in, clarity will once again be the first to capitulate, and who will ultimately pay for this let up? We will!

Perhaps we should recite clarity, clarity, … mantra-like, a hundred times or so before going to sleep, to let our subconscious work on it.

Any takers? 😉

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