Impacting Every Level of the Organization!

communication culture effective communication executive individual contributor leadership leadership culture management manager ownership poor communications profit profitability profitability killers supervision supervisor Mar 23, 2023
poor communications

Learning that it took ten full years to make a change within Chick-fil-A that, al least from the outside looking in, seemed like something fairly simple, I’m guessing you’re on the same page with me as to why we cannot expect to say anything just once and get our entire team on the same page with us… But that example was tied to getting a whole bunch of people at all levels of a large original and in cities across the country to change something that was likely a deeply ingrained habit; no wonder it took so long - right? It can’t possibly be that hard to get a smaller team to take action on something new…

Think back to the statistic from SIS International Research that I referenced before that said, “the cumulative cost per year due to productivity losses resulting from communication barriers is more than $26,000 per employee. Not only that, the study found that a business with 100 employees spends an average downtime of 17 hours a week clarifying communications. Translated into dollars, that’s more than $530,000 a year.” When we covered this in a public Emerging Leader Development course recently, one of the participants was quick to suggest that he thought these numbers were way too low! As a third shift supervisor in a local manufacturing facility, most of his employees were some of the newest in his company and he felt sure his shift had that much downtime each week as a result of poor communication and there were far less than 100 employees on his team!

Before I go on, consider just how much profitability that’s killing! And don’t make the mistake of hanging those numbers all on the shoulders on this particular supervisor or even the entire management team in that facility. Poor communication is a profitability killer that has an impact at every level of leadership AND everywhere else throughout an organization!

All too often, I hear the term “individual contributor” tied to the suggestion that as long as the folks who are lumped into this category are proficient in the technical skills required for their role, no other type of development is necessary. That’s crap! On the most basic level, I’ll challenge you to consider how many people you’ve seen in any organization you’ve ever been a part of or done business with who ONLY perform their specific job and never interact with another co-worker. I can’t think of a single person I’ve ever seen who would qualify, although I can picture quite a few who would have been much better suited for something like that if it existed!

Now consider how frequently we need our team members who are at least somewhat competent in their technical roles, those individual contributors, to train new team members coming into our organizations… If they’ve mastered their jobs, poor communication shouldn’t impact how effectively they train someone should it? And that couldn’t possibly have anything to do with whether or not that new employee ever makes it through the orientation and onboarding process… Oh, wait a minute! Maybe it does! Could that possibly be creating some of the downtime referenced in the SIS study?

I’d challenge you to consider how these issues grow exponentially when (not if) our team members butt heads, but that’s likely beating the ole dead horse… With some perspective in mind for how much of a profitability killer poor communication is with our so-called individual contributors, is it safe to think similar issues don’t exist at the supervisory, manager, or even executive levels? I certainly wouldn’t take that bet… And that’s exactly why poor communication is the second profitability killer we’re working through in this process!

Moving forward, we’ll look at other profitability killers that are fed by poor communication and I’ll make a case for why violating the golden rule could very well be one of the best things we can possibly do to get a handle on it. Stay tuned!