Industryweek 14468 Communication T

3 Keys to Improved Communication in Your Plant

Feb. 24, 2015
With strategic, targeted communication, managers can improve operational execution of strategy within the organization.

Every organization has communication problems and disconnects. Oftentimes, the breakdown of strategic execution is not within a single layer of the organization, but between layers.  For proper execution, the strategy -- along with any necessary course corrections -- must be well communicated between layers of the organization.

Evaluate these key factors to ensure proper message transmission and reception:

1. The Message

Strong managers deliver strong messages. This means driving the organization using the first person. Don’t hide behind committees or the boss. When delivering instructions to your organization, it should be on your terms. This means saying things like “I’d like you to…” or “I want…” and avoiding such phrases as “We’d like you to…” or “the boss wants me to tell you…”

The loss of first person in the message causes a weakening of the managerial position. While it is often not appropriate to appear dictatorial, there is a point when the buck must stop. Your job as manager is to deliver strong, clear messages. This also means you should focus on word choice and selection of adequate messaging to deliver the point of the communication.

2. The Communication Channel

It would seem that many managers prefer email over face-to-face communication with employees. There’s a simple reason for this: Email is asynchronous. You can write your email, send it and forget it. The employee in turn receives it when they next check email. Face-to-face verbal communications take time and energy.

A strong manager actively evaluates which communication channel (face-to-face, telephone, email, written letter, etc.) is appropriate for the message being conveyed. In some cases, multiple channels may need to be employed. No matter the case, taking the step of active evaluation will improve channel selection on the part of the manager.

3. The Sender and Receiver

In formulation of the message and selection of the communication channel, it is important to remember your position relative to the receiver. Specifically, the manager should consider whether communicating with a subordinate, superior or colleague. Also, the manager must consider how the message will be “filtered” by the receiver. Word choice, physical expression and other nonverbal cues will affect this filtering.

With strategic, targeted communication, managers can improve operational execution of strategy within the organization.

Jason Piatt is cofounder and president of Praestar Technology Corp. Prior to founding Praestar Technology, Jason held various tactical and executive positions in engineering, sales and marketing, and program management with a leading power transmission component manufacturer. He has served as a member of the faculty at Penn State University and has taught at Pennsylvania College of Technology in electrical and mechanical engineering technology, mathematics, and physics. Jason and the Praestar Consulting team have assisted numerous manufacturers in the areas of lean manufacturing, Six Sigma, sales and marketing management, and strategy formation.

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