Counting voices for improving team communication

I believe that looking for the ideal number of people to have a conversation is asking the wrong question… One should be asking how to provide something valuable to those involved in the conversation, how they can learn, find inspiration and exchange experiences.

“Some people talk a lot, but aren’t saying anything”

Conversation is all about individuals exchanging information. Conversation only happens when information flows from each individual towards another person. In order for this to happen certain conditions have to be met: Continue reading

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Flip coin decisions

 coins When your team has little time to decide on how to approach a difficult challenge. Let them decide by coins! May the best idea win!
  1. Discuss the challenge

basejumpprep   Image by J. Neun

  1. How would they cope with the challenge at hand? Listen to idea’s from the group (one idea per person)

teamideas

  1. Let the team pick the top ideas (3-5), write them down
  2. “Everyone, pick your coins!”

teamivotebycoin

  1. Vote for an idea by putting your coin face up on the table covered by your hand, removing your hand only when all coins are on the table.
  2. In case of a tie we will vote again to see which idea is most suited to cope with the given challenge (time constraints, required resources…)
  3. The winner(s) will face the challenge using their ideas
  4. Extra fun: If the winner(s) can successfully complete the challenge by realising their idea(s) they can have the pick of place to celebrate (team drink,…).
 plus
    • Involvement
    • Quick decisions
    • Motivation boost
    • Reality check (team feedback)

Communicating properly

“We’re all islands shouting lies to each other across seas of misunderstanding.”

Last weekend We’ve had one of those family reunions again. In case of my family, this means shallow conversations, lot’s of political play and inappropriate humour with the purpose to steer conversations away from serious subjects, like the slowly dying family ties, personal grievances and so on. Work is a topic everyone is willing to venture because it is the perfect opportunity for anyone to vent their frustrations and brag about their personal achievements.

Conversations ranging from silly jokes to the misfortunes that overcome their friends, to weather forecasts and holiday plans. Peppered by their personal judgment on any real or imagined injustices that have been done to them such as not recognizing their full potential at work assuming they are more capable of improving the whole company policy a lot better than the current management.

Among my family members, remarkably enough, the only one who behaves normally (as normal as normal can go) is my granny. She’s the one who dares to say what she means and mean what she says without unnecessary flavour and beating around the bushes sans pardon what others might think or how they will react. If only they will follow her suit then it will improve the flow of communication and will probably bridge the ever growing gap between us relatives.

The reason for this ongoing miscommunication I think is the lack of trust. Funny how it may sound I never witnessed any sign of that in my family both sides. The only thing that’s important for them is to compete with each other about their achievements, financial status and material things in general. Tragic isn’t it?

Which reminds me of the general behaviour I witness at work these days, colleagues trying to outdo each other telling stories about everything and nothing in particular. Co-workers listening, nodding their head politely but you can see the doubt in their eyes. Why do you think they don’t dare to voice out their real opinions in public? Because nobody wants to rock the boat. God knows where it will bring them.

In my opinion the optimum manner to establish strong connection with each other is to be out in the open about your thoughts in general within boundary of course. Like the best way to build a team is to share personal values with each other. We tend to trust individuals who openly share their best experiences and their hardships with us. Sharing ideas is a good foundation to establish future relationship and far more efficient than formal techniques like ideaboxes, personal reviews, task planning meetings and so on…

So when you’re managing a team remember, you have to manage the communication in order to make sure that they start to truly understand the worries, strengths and ideas of individuals in the team. They have to feel like respected family members, who will still be family members after they made a mistake. As a manager you have to set the example! You will also share your doubts and ideas with the team, communicate openly and make sure all team members can do so. Building trust is making sure you show them you care about their problems, recognize their differences and make sure they understand each other!

Exploring your Goals and achieving them

With all that social media hype, we’re in a world of overflowing information and communication streams. There are mails, texts and so many other feeds constantly competing for our attention. It’s a real challenge to keep focused especially when it comes to product development where complex disciplines like analysis, design and testing meet. More and more, experts from other fields like healthcare run into similar communication difficulties like how to decide which information is relevant, accurate and valuable?

“In order to work together the people (involved) and the powers-that-be must share the same vision.”

Communication issues are among the top 10 reasons for project failure, another one being a lack of clearly defined responsibilities.

When working together ensure the communication is structured and clear. Keep it simple and keep it human. It has to base on mutual understanding and check whether those needs and goals are truly understood. There is a time to define, teams to inspire, vision to explore and goals to conclude.

“One Goal, One Vision, One Mission”

Oh, if you can plug into people’s emotions by making them see their own needs, go for it… Make them talk about their issues. Nothing is more powerful than intrinsic motivation.

In my experience, what is working when creating shared vision?

  • Define the Needs
  • Inspire the Team to Explore options to address those Needs
  • Explore team Goals

What’s my inspiration writing this? Queen – One Vision, thinking on team level rather than a single man…

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