Too Much Workplace Communication Lacks Specificity, Pt. 1

Three times in three different contexts last week Communication Sin #1 came up in conversations with clients.

You can learn something from each.

You’re familiar with Communication Sin #1, right? (If not, go here to download the white paper report on The 7 Deadliest Sins of Leadership & Workplace Communication).

It is A LaIMG_0523ck of Specificity. It is an epidemic in human communication today. See this sign on a local business’ front door?

Scenario #1:

A small business with 11 people in the company including the owners were sitting around a conference room table putting the finishing touches on their strategic plan.

I was facilitating the process, which had taken us just under 90-days to complete (right on schedule, by the way).

We were identifying the company’s new corporate values everyone would be required to fulfill in their actions, behaviors, work ethic, etc.

One woman, in defining the value of “communication,” said we will commit to “effective communication.”

One of her teammates then asked, “well, how would we know if were communicating effectively? How would it be different than we’re doing now?

I said, “hey, that’s my line.”

She fired back at me, “I’m paying attention.”

Corporate values are often platitudes of words and concepts that lack specificity.

They fail to give people required to fulfill those values substance so they can know what is expected in terms of behaviors and actions.

Too many people take the terms used in corporate values statements for granted.

Too many assumptions are made that everyone knows what “respect,” “communication,” and “service” mean.

They don’t.

If there are 20 employees you will get 20 different meanings.

You need to invest the time to drill deeper and identify specific behaviors that define the values you’re looking to instill in your company culture.

What examples do you have where A Lack of Specificity negatively impacted your effectiveness, individually or as part of a team or company? Leave a comment below.

Next time I’ll share another of last week’s communication mistakes that lacked specificity and caused problems in organizations and between individuals.

’til next time, Communicate with Power,

skip-weisman-professional speaker-small business championship coach