How to Build Your Rhythm of Communication
To get out of the tension and frustration of miscommunication in the workplace (and to get past those storms to better levels of growth and collaboration) you have to lay down - or rebuild - how communication happens in your workplace. You have to move more towards a rhythm of communication and operate less from a randomness of communication. First you need to have a different outlook about communication. Think of it this way:
A new structure of communication is like a highway system that allows you to drive all different kinds of issues, problems, projects, and solutions easier and better.
Similar to our our national highway system, the automobiles are all different, the people are all different, the products and cargo change all the time, but as long as the highway system remains, everyone using it can be confident they can get to where they want to go much faster and more effectively.
Applying this to the workplace: the automobiles are the meetings that people jump into to discuss things, the people are your team members, and the product and cargo are the many ideas, issues, problems, solutions, and proposals that everyone is carrying around in their heads.
To get started, identify the 4 meetings that you should be having on a regularly rhythm basis once per week. These are the meetings that you should have in order to drive 90% of all that you do and all the projects you are accountable for:
You and your team - this is when you meet with your direct reports every week to announce upcoming things, follow through on previous assignments, check on status of projects, and discuss new ideas.
You and your supervisor - this is when you meet with your supervisor (or executive) every week to strategize, discuss upcoming things, follow through on previous assignments, report on status of projects, present new ideas, and advocate for what your people need you to resolve for them that needs your supervisor’s approval.
You and 2 of your peers - think about those 2 managers in other departments that are regularly coming to your offices, emailing you a lot (or you are going into their office and you are emailing them about). If you are having to “chase” each other often throughout the week, then set up a regular rhythm meeting with them and organize yourselves on issues from a structured weekly connecting meeting, and transition out of chasing each other.
You may ask, “okay, but how do I run these meetings so they are effective?” That would covered in the other upcoming blogs in this series. For now, set up these meetings for the next 6 weeks and start identifying the issues to discuss.