LeanCor Leadership Principle:
Open and Frequent Communication – Drive transparent communication with customers, suppliers, shareholders and all team members.
In today’s technology-driven society, we tend to lack the personal connections that we can make with people by just picking up the phone or paying them a visit. We live in a “communication age,” where we can create friendships and relationships with people who we have never actually met before. As leaders, we need to remind our teams about effective communication as this is what sets the connection between our organization and its customers, suppliers, shareholders, and team members. A crucial, but often overlooked, function of leadership is creating a culture in which effective communication can flourish.
Effective communication styles ensure that the right people are getting the right information at the right time. Especially as lean thinkers, we are usually communicating principles that can be foreign to many. When communicating, think of yourself as an educator. How can you effectively sell your ideas? What is the message that you are trying to get across? How is the person listening receiving it?
Two Parts to Communicating
There are two parts to communicating. The first is to speak (transmit). The second is to listen (receive). When speaking, we tend to either advocate (give a point of view) or inquire (seeking to understand other points of view). Both are used in effective communication, and as a leader, you will be more successful by increasing the percentage of time you spend inquiring. When a leader uses inquiry well, it sets an environment where others can listen and contribute without fear. It can also result in more creative ideas, better team communication, and a greater willingness to engage.
There is a principle within LeanCor of no great unveilings. This means that with everything we do, whether it’s internal or with our customers, we regularly check and adjust with all involved to show status and bring up any hotspots. Transparent communication helps us avoid surprises, provides follow-up for concerns, is consistent, and creates expectations for all involved. It is this that sets us apart from the competition and helps us form relationships with those we work with and our customers because teamwork and trust are evident in all that we do.
To make those expectations clear and regularly check and adjust, here are a few examples of tools to help measure performance through PDCA:
- Project timelines
- Supplier scorecards
- A3R- Reflection
- Action item logs
These tools allow us to see the vision and expectations, and communicate about them regularly. Remember, these are only tools, but the purpose of them is no great unveilings, no secrets.
So, let’s reflect.
- As a leader, are you creating a culture in which effective communication can flourish?
- Are there specific avenues for communication that you keep open with your customers and suppliers that are visible to your team?
- If so, do you use this to show an example to your team members and let them take part in this process? Do you and your team follow the principle of no great unveilings?
- Where can you improve your own behaviors around using the tools for effective communication, such as the A3S?
Next week, we'll talk about open and frequent communication...
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