Introduction: Everything must have a communication part, and work is no exception. If communication is not in place, you may have done 8 points of work, and 4 points will be deducted in the end; but if the communication is effective, 7 points of work can become 10 points. Communication makes you great, but it can also get you out of the game. A professional professional manager must pay attention to communication.
When working abroad, I developed a “follow up” habit of doing things. If I make an appointment with someone to meet in two weeks, I will first lock the time on my schedule, and then two days ago, the schedule will remind me to confirm the meeting again.
In my many years of work experience, it seems that there are very few things like the eventual change or cancellation of the meeting. Every time I meet, I will inevitably make an appointment for the next meeting, and then I will confirm it one or two days before the date. As I said above, I like to take the initiative, and more importantly, there will be no progress if things are not followed up.
1 Is “communication” an extra thing?
A colleague I have worked with for many years has a bad habit and will not always follow-up communication. When the matter is handed over to him, there will be no sound for a long time. After a few weeks, I suddenly remembered and asked him what was going on. He said, “It’s done.”
He might think that there is a point increase, who knows that I have already lost two points in my heart. First of all, because there has been no feedback, I cannot let go of this matter, which means that this matter has always been my responsibility, so one point is deducted. Then I didn’t say it when I finished it, and let me continue thinking about it, and another point was deducted. If I hear from other channels that he has done things well, and my immediate supervisor is still stupid and unaware, this will definitely deduct another point. Our performance is a perfect score of five, and one point is out. Even if this colleague starts with a perfect score, he is almost out because he doesn’t pay much attention to communication.
This may also be a question of values. I think this colleague thinks that “communication” is an extra thing and should not take up time to do things. If someone says, “I have been too busy these days and I don’t have time to communicate with my team”, then this person is definitely a person who doesn’t pay attention to communication. When I used to train sales staff, I would ask them to report on the phone once a day, just to cultivate a habit of communication.
I will also teach them how to report, and if there is a problem, we can solve it together immediately. Later, I will change to weekly reporting, and many employees are still reluctant to bear it. I think there is no natural communication master. To become a communication expert, we must first realize that “communication” is part of doing things, and it is also a very important part. If things are done but you have not communicated with relevant people, for them, you may not have started doing it yet. With this awareness, behavior may begin to change.
2 good assistant, bad assistant
Let me share again how my past assistants did things. If the assistant arranges for me to go on a business trip to participate in an event, especially some large-scale events, after the decision is made, she will arrange a 15-30 minute conference call every week, and all those who arrange the event are invited to communicate. Usually there are many dynamic things to be dealt with in the arrangement, and I may have different ideas after hearing the progress. Until two days before the business trip, everything was settled, and she would give me detailed arrangements, down to when and where to do things.
These details will appear in my schedule, and try to do my best to have a chance to rehearse any event details. But I have some assistants who lost me and don’t know. There are no detailed arrangements before the business trip, and maybe the air tickets have not been arranged at the airport… I think the difference lies in how the two assistants define and do a good job.
For example, the boss will fly to Beijing the day after tomorrow. A reliable assistant defines this as sending the boss to Beijing smoothly and then picking it back smoothly. She would go through the whole process first, and walk the process in her mind first, and even thought of her that the boss hadn’t met. This kind of assistant is far more careful than you, so you can be completely at ease. Otherwise, if you are thinking about what she will miss all day, this kind of assistant will not add value, but will become a burden.
But don’t think that unreliable assistants don’t want to do a good job. They are also enthusiastic and good employees, but they are always left behind. I think one of the most important reasons is the deviation in the definition of “things.” For example, if you ask her to book a ticket, she will book it right away. After booking, she will immediately go to do something else. As the boss, you never know if the ticket is booked. A reliable assistant will define “booking a ticket” as including two steps: one is to ask clearly about the flight model, time, and seat requirements; the other is to feed back all the confirmed information to the party after booking the ticket to let him know about this. The matter is over. Everything must have a communication part. I often say that if you do not communicate properly, you may have done 8 points of work and finally deducted 4 points; but if the communication is effective, 7 points of work will become 10 points. Therefore, a professional professional manager must pay attention to communication. Communication makes you great, but it may also get you out of the game. It must be taken seriously.
3 Master the “follow-up” initiative
But what if your boss doesn’t communicate well, and in turn blames you for lack of communication?
If you are a subordinate, you can use SMART to set up the communication “mechanism”. In SMART, S refers to Specific, M refers to Measurable, A refers to Achievable, R refers to Relevant, and T refers to Time (time limit). After the boss has finished talking about his expectations of you, you can use SMART as a feedback tool. The following dialogue is the SMAT dialogue. Why is there no R? Because the boss asked you to do it, your assumption is that the boss has considered that this project is related to his direction.
“Boss, I heard your request of me. I’m afraid I heard it wrong. It’s better to repeat it and let you confirm it. What I heard specifically is…Do you agree?”
“To measure the success of this matter, I think it is necessary to continue to use the KPI mechanism you have been promoting. You see if this KPI I suggest is feasible, or do you have other KPI suggestions?”
“No problem, this KPI is fine.”
“I want to share with my boss one of my judgments after I understand your request. I think this is definitely feasible, but with the resources I currently have, I might have to slow down my other project. If you can accept it, we can start this project right away.”
“Well, don’t slow down on another project. I will mobilize more resources for you so that you can do both of these things.”
“Okay, boss, no problem. With additional resources, things will be easier.
“If these resources are available next week, I estimate that this project can be completed within 6 months. This is also your original request. And I hope I can give you a simple progress report every two weeks, and I will send you one. WeChat, meet again when necessary. I mainly want to make sure that you know the project or follow the plan. If there are any changes, I can also notify you in time. Do you think this is okay?”
The boss is very satisfied, because he knows that he will receive a progress report every two weeks, even if the matter is completely handed over.
“Very well, let’s do it like this. I’ll wait for you on WeChat.”
Communication cannot be stopped at the beginning. Continuous communication is an essential part of any relationship improvement. Professional managers must cultivate “follow-up” as a workplace gene, and the “waiting” mentality will definitely not allow you to develop too smoothly in the workplace.