Twenty five managers in one of my recent courses did a yeoman’s job of reciting the steps for delivering tough messages. So well, in fact, that they missed the point, the boat and the forest for the trees.
We’ve come a long way from the “command and control” of the early industrial revolution. We managers have been coached to within an inch of our lives on participative management techniques, politically correct communication and the gentle respect of constructive feedback. But in the midst of pursuing “best place to work” status we are eroding our ability to drive, inspire and produce powerful results.
I recently wrote about the Six C’s of Strong and Flexible Management. The twenty five managers in my course were split into four teams and each team was assigned a case study. The instructions were to develop a response to their assigned case using four C’s: Clarity, Courage, Connection and Communication.
Each team, working separately, produced almost exactly the same response. A well-thought out communication strategy to deal with the case at hand. Whether the case had to do with the company having to freeze pay, invest in growth or change strategic direction, the teams’ recommended responses consisted of communicating the news.
As managers, we can do better. Yes, there is always news to be communicated from on high, but how will you drive, inspire and produce powerful results? You do it by taking purposeful command of your precious and powerful team.
Clarity: What powerful impact can your team have given the business context? Be clear about what great things your team can create, produce, facilitate…
Courage: What changes would you make in your team to produce powerful results given the business context. Do you need to replace talent? Do you need to change roles? Do you need to make a case to upper management for new or different resources?
Connection: What talent resides in your team that you can leverage in this new or changing business context? What do your team members want to do more or or less of that you can help weave into their work experience? What ideas do they have for stepping up the game, being more collaborative, introducing new or more efficient processes? How can they contribute?
Communication: How can you best convey all of the above? Your clarity of purpose, your tough decisions, your connection with them and their connection to the organization?
If you settle for simply delivering corporate news. You’ve missed a very cool boat.