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Your Weekly Leadership HVA (High Value Activity)

Hello Lifelong Learner ...

Here's the next in our series of weekly managerial TIPS (Techniques, Insights, and Practical Solutions) to help you better engage your team in the activities that lead to higher performance.

CORE Bites #18: While facilitating an executive team meeting this past week, the subject of 'communication' surfaced as an area that needed attention. Everyone agreed that poor communications is a challenge that many of their managers/leaders wrestle with (including themselves!). As the conversation ensued, the group discovered that regardless of one's education, expertise, or position in an organization, as a rule, most leaders fail to devote as much time to improving their communication skills as they do to honing other business skills. In addition, the participants agreed that communication issues don't arise as a result of not communicating; the consensus in the room was that communication issues were more likely the result of not conveying ideas in a relevant and meaningful way to the intended receiver(s).

This issue of CORE Bites is dedicated to the art of Receiver-Centered Communications (RCC) to improve upon your ability (as a leader of people) to communicate with clarity and purpose.

High Value Activity (HVA) Action Step: This week (starting today), make sure you incorporate these HVA action steps into your communications approach to boost your 'leadership presence' and help inspire/lead people in the desired direction:

  • Know/Understand/Appreciate the Receiver's Perspective: While you may understand what you're trying to convey, if you don't tailor your message to fit the specific needs of the receiver(s), you'll fail to connect and, consequently, what you're trying to communicate will be lost or misunderstood. Start by focusing on what your team is thinking — their challenges and concerns. When you communicate, try to connect to the individual by using “you” instead of “I.” For example, using “Have you ever experienced ...” rather than “I use this approach ...” will engage employees and express your desire to understand. Also, when appropriate, ask, “Where do you think you may need help? How can I assist?”
  • A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words: Science informs us that there are a greater number of 'visual' learners than there are 'auditory' learners. So if you're trying to convey a picture that you have in your mind's eye (e.g., a process or a series of connected data points), it's better to create a visual representation of some form to ensure your receiver(s) are able to visualize exactly what you're seeing/thinking. In the words of Walt Disney, “Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.” Use our Step It! Visual Roadmap System to help visually (and accurately) communicate the steps of a process. [Neil's Note: The original quote is actually “A picture is worth ten thousand words.” and is attributed to Fred Barnard in 1927.]
  • The most influential leaders have learned that it's not what you know that makes your communications effective; instead, it's the ability to simplify and create a roadmap through the complexities of life and work. In the words of Albert Einstein, “If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.” So, instead of spending your time creating PowerPoint slides that contain all sorts of data and charts, spend your time on 'context.' This will ensure your message is relevant and answer the receiver's main concern: “What does this mean to me and how will I apply this to what I'm doing?” An innovative example of how to create better context can be found in this brilliant TED Talk.

Receiver-Centered Communications (RCC) — the human connection — is the key to your personal and professional career success. Think of it this way: You can change your world by changing your words!

I'd love to hear how this HVA works for you!

Have a brilliant day ... and enjoy the journey!


Neil Dempster, PhD, MBA

RESULTant and Behavioral Engineer


"As a leader, you must consistently drive effective communication. Meetings must be deliberate and intentional — your organizational rhythm should value purpose over habit and effectiveness over efficiency." — Chris Fussell 


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