Effective Communication Skills

communication disc effective communication effective communication skills employee engagement employee retention human behavior leadership management productivity supervision turnover Apr 21, 2021
Effective Communication Skills

Effective Communication Skills is a frequently searched phrase on Google. But why? What’s the big deal? Shouldn’t this be simple to address?

I frequently reference a study done by Salesforce.com that showed “86% of the executives they surveyed cited lack of collaboration and ineffective communication as the primary reason for workplace failure.” That seems like a big deal to me! I read another study done by SIS International Research showing that “the cumulative cost of annual productivity losses due to communication issues alone were more than $26,000 per employee.”

If this were indeed something simple to address, would these numbers really be so high? At the risk of confirming any suspicion you may have about how dense I actually am, I’m going out on a limb here and suggesting that it’s extremely simple - and that’s why so many individuals and organizations struggle mightily with it!

I began learning carpentry when I was around 12 years old. I remember helping my dad and his best friend for $1.50 an hour in their side business placing shingled roofs and installing vinyl siding. Truth be told, I was mainly picking up trash and running after tools but from time to time they’d actually let me measure something or attempt to drive a nail. For the next ten years or so, the skills I learned helping them helped me pay the bills. Although I don’t do much carpentry work today, I still have a fully equipped nail apron in the closet just outside my office; you never know when you’re gonna need a hammer when you’re dealing with computers!

Speaking of hammers, I have a plain old 20 ounce straight claw hammer that I’ve used for any carpentry-related task I’ve done since I was 18 years old. Sure there are hammers that are better for trim work, hammers that are better for framing, and hammers that are better for drywall… And now you can even get a nail gun for just about any application you can imagine! (One of those would have saved me a bloody thumb on more than one occasion…) But for all around practicality, I’m convinced it’s hard to beat my hammer.

One of my favorite people in the entire world sells construction materials and tools for a living. And quite honestly, he’s a true master of his craft! He knows the industry, as well as the products he offers, better than anyone I’ve ever known. He also provides his clients with a level of service that I’ve just not seen from anyone else. From time to time, Mark will do demonstrations for his clients showing off the newest technology on the market. Mark’s goal is to provide them with options for completing a task more efficiently. Any tool he suggests is based on his belief that the cost of purchasing the tool will be covered many times over by the improved performance they achieve in using it. That’s definitely not the approach everyone in that industry takes, but that’s a story for another time…

Something I’ve never seen Mark do is try to convince someone that the fancy new cordless circular saw, complete with dust collection and auto-stop features, will drive a nail better than my plain old hammer. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens all too often when it comes to addressing effective communication skills. Fancy new buzz words are thrown at executives, along with significant fees, with a false hope of solving their conundrum. In the next post, we’ll start looking at the importance of using the right tool for the job - even if it’s a tool that’s been around forever and not all that flashy...