Is Your Communication System Working For You And Your Business?

Business Team CommunicationsI get asked this question frequently, because so many who are well into their business know they need some help to get to the next level but are finding kinks and blockages in communications with their team, between team members and with clients.

No matter what the size of your business, it can’t function effectively without efficient communications systems. This is especially true for businesses that are operating nationally or internationally – and even if you are a team of only two.

I can liken this to couples or family communications. Counselors will tell you the number one couples’ problem that brings them to counseling is communications.

Businesses have the added challenge of people who may not know each other that well, distance, responsibilities, differing communication styles and more.

Most businesses, small, large or in between, can easily list examples of where communications systems (or lack of them) have caused problems.

It could be a virtual assistant who doesn’t understand the assignment and sends out a message that isn’t what you intended. It could be the financial team that doesn’t know your long term plans for the business so makes decisions that head you in a direction you don’t want to go.

Maybe it’s that team member who forgot to tell you something important so you got blindsided and lost a client. Or perhaps a client request was handled in a way you don’t see as the philosophy of your business.

The downsides of lacking important communications systems are clear: lack of efficiency, lack of cooperation, loss of potential clients, stress and bottom line impact.

Here are some of the key components of an effective communication system:

  • Painting the big picture: Knowing the goals and objectives is everything and like a boat, you can’t get there if the people rowing don’t know where they are going.
  • Honest employee communications: Your team needs to hear the not so good news just as much as the good news. Being honest and straightforward with your team, large or small, pays off with people who feel engaged in business success.
  • Congruent client messages: Decide on your key messages to clients and make sure every person who comes in contact with a client and even those that don’t, know and understand what you business stands for.
  • Regular team meetings: A once a year “State of the Business” isn’t enough. Too many things change too fast, and your team needs to know so they can do their jobs. Team meetings also allow you to hear from your team about issues, successes, their ideas and brainstorming solutions.
  • Your daily reviews and updates: Don’t lose track of what is going on in your business or you risk living in an ivory tower – a big disconnect between you and your team and clients. You don’t have to micro-manage, but you do need to be informed.
  • E-mail, web and social media two-way management: Critically important in today’s milieu is this incredibly powerful cyber communication vehicle. This is a two way communication challenge and almost no business today can afford to ignore it.

Evaluation and understanding of your current systems be they established or ad hoc, is the first step toward managing your business communications systems.

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