Increase efficiency and profitability through communication

Drive-thru:

  • Clear communication reduces misunderstandings and clarifies expectations.
  • Improve transparency and accountability by following up and explaining everything.
  • Control every crisis quickly and cleanly.

Communication increases your company’s efficiency and profitability. True statement. But how? What does communication—ordinary, everyday communication—do to make your business run better?

Where do we get the idea that communication is essential in business? From all those surveys employees, customers, and bosses take in which “lack of communication” figures at the top of the list of their concerns. From companies that have made vast improvements in efficiency after having implemented an adequate communication process. From root cause investigations which discover a problem occurred because something hadn’t been communicated correctly or on time.

So, how does communication create efficiency and improve profitability? What problems can be solved with communication?

Reduce misunderstandings and clarify expectations

You’ve probably heard someone say, “I can’t read your mind.”

When do they say it? After something you wanted to be done in a certain way and at a specific time didn’t happen. You probably assumed everything was clear, and said without further explanation, “Go do this.” Because you thought it was obvious. You expected them to understand.

Then you got vanilla instead of chocolate, a caramel macchiato instead of a cafe mocha; a single with cheese instead of a double without tomatoes.

Clear, concise, and complete communication makes the assumption that everybody knows what you are talking about true. It keeps people from having to make assumptions in the first place. It helps everyone see the goal and the precise steps to meet it.

Then you got vanilla instead of chocolate, a caramel macchiato instead of a cafe mocha; a single with cheese instead of a double without tomatoes.

Build your process so that everyone receives the same information with enough detail to guide them in completing their tasks. Don’t rely on the whisper game to get your point across. Don’t let the rumor mill garble your message. You are spoiled for choice in ways to communicate. Learn to use email, texts, phone calls, and face-to-face conversations to make sure everyone hears the same thing and that they hear it from you (or another trusted, authoritative source).

Don’t forget communication is a two-way street:

  • Give others time to ask questions to clarify their understanding.
  • Have them repeat back what they think you meant.
  • Don’t get impatient, don’t cut them off, don’t assume you know what they are asking. Everyone just needs to cool their jets, so the message comes across in one piece.

Improve transparency and increase accountability

Transparency in communication breeds empowerment in your employees. If they know exactly what you want and why, they will have the confidence to complete the job without further discussion. They can “see” what you wish them to do because you gave them enough detail and allowed them to rephrase your instructions for understanding.

Good communication increases accountability. Everyone knows who said it, what was meant, and how they are intended to respond. There are no loopholes for one of the parties to claim a piece of information was missing. If something goes wrong, you know where to look to resolve the issue.

Good communication increases accountability. Everyone knows who said it, what was meant, and how they are intended to respond. Click To Tweet

Effective crisis control

If you have the appropriate communication process in place, everyone will know their roles for mitigating a crisis. They will know where to find the problem, what to do at each step, and how to tell when it’s fixed.

In a crisis, your company needs to hold onto its reputation. Your employees need to perceive management as a partner in resolving the problem. You don’t want half of your people running around aimlessly with the rest bleating: “What should we do?”

Develop a communication plan, implement it, check for understanding, and then encourage everyone in your company to communicate using the appropriate channels.

A bonus of clear communication…

When you and your employees learn to communicate with each other, you will communicate better with your clients and vendors, too. More correct orders. More satisfied customers. Everybody wins.

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