Steven L. Doran
People contact me on a regular basis and tell me how everybody around them drops the ball. They either do not do what they are told or they do not do it the way they are told.
In past articles I have talked about different forms of management. The only successful mangers I have ever seen in my career are the ones that know how to communicate. Sadly over 75% of manager in any given organization do not. They are not even clear on what they are suppose to do.
When we do not communicate our instructions properly, what can we really expect from persons who work for us. Poor communications will consume even the best organization.
Clear and specific directions are critical. Clearly state what you want and what you expect. Do not bury the instructions in some convoluted corporate speak, in the middle of some giant document. It should be clear, concise well marked and easy to understand.
The same is true when talking to people. Do not try and sell anything or give mixed signals. Be nice, be polite, but tell the person or persons what you want and how you want it. Follow up with are you clear on that? Please tell me what I need you to do? If they can not repeat it back to you, then either you did not explain it in a way they could understand it or they were not paying attention.
I have met very few brilliant speakers in my life who could keep my interest over a few minutes before my eyes glazed over, and of course it is human nature to tell someone in charge of you that you understood what they said because you do not want to look dumb or let on you were board with their presentation. So keep it simple and to the point. Most of us were not hired to be a public speaker we were hired to get the job done.
Take possession of the assignment personally, nothing will get done with out someone taking charge of the process. Further only one person can be in charge. Do not allow others to make decisions, changes or even talk to your personnel unless they clear it with you first. All this will do is create confusion.
Create visuals, as examples in law enforcement reports are key to the success of almost all assignments. Have example reports available for persons to see. Never just throw a bunch of instructions in a book or policy manual. Show them a specific example of what you want the end product to be. Do not hire an attorney or published author to write it. The product should be well written and should be simple enough for anyone on your staff to recreate.
Give people deadlines and date of execution. If they are a part of a project, all information, contacts, etc, should be on hand as soon as it becomes available and participants should not have to go on a treasure hunt to find it.
As you know I am against big corporate meetings. But I am all for contacting the persons involved on a regular basis to check progress.
Weekly or bi-weekly meeting are ok as long as they are kept to the point. Send out an agenda with the caveat that this is what this meeting is going to be about; we will not be addressing anything else during this time. Please have any question pertaining to this subject ready during the question and answer period.
There is nothing worse than having a meeting, and fielding a multitude of questions that do not pertain to the subject matter or worse only pertains to the individual asking. It creates confusion. If you need to have another meeting to clear the air or go over additional topics do so. But do not allow a scheduled structured meeting to turn into a free for all. Stick to the topics and end it.
Monitor progress, and do not be afraid to call on others who part of the process or who are skilled in your area to ask for advice or possible direction if you hit a road block.
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