May 10 2007

It Never Goes Without Saying

It Never Goes Without Saying

Remember that old adage, "It goes without saying…"?  That saying shouldn’t exist inside a well-run company.  Communication — real communication, not implied communication — is the foundation for a successful business.

We human beings live for "moments."  We mark time by observing regular occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays.  While religions and cultures differ on the details, we mark the cycle of life with things like baby namings, bar mitzvahs, confirmations, first communions, weddings, and funerals. 

There’s no reason the workplace should be any different.  Think about these few examples where it could "go without saying," but where you’re so much better off creating that "moment" by:

– Publicly acknowledging a member of your team for reaching an employment anniversary (the bigger the number, the heartier the acknowledgment)

– Laying the groundwork for a new initiative by reminding the team in a meeting or email about the company’s mission and how this initiative fits into the big picture

– Marking the end of a project or a transition period with a celebration

– Meeting two weeks after the end of a project or a crisis to do a post-mortem analyzing what went well and defining lessons learned for the next time

– Publicly thanking a colleague for helping out on something — anything

– Giving an employee a quick reprimand or constructive feedback right after an incident (probably privately) instead of letting the issue fester and its details slip from short-term memory

Clear, simple communication is the cheapest and easiest way to create a fun, rewarding, accountable, and focused work environment.