Two priests got into an argument about smoking and praying at the same time. They couldn’t resolve it, so they decided to each write the Pope and have him decide it.
When both had received their answers, they got together. "What did His Holiness tell you?" asked the first.
"He said that it was fine," answered the second. "What did he tell you?"
"Very strange," responded the first. "He told me that it was forbidden. What did you ask him, anyway?"
"I asked if it was all right to pray while smoking. He said that prayer is always appropriate. What did you ask him?"
"I asked him if it was all right to smoke while praying. He said that smoking would defame the sacred act, so it is forbidden."
Often, it’s all in how you ask the question!
Analyse any manager’s job description and you will seldom find Communication Improvement as a defined job responsibility, task and defined output.
Why? Is it because the process is seen to be elusive? The PR Practitioner or Corporate Communications Manager’s job? Just as a point could be made that we do not need HR managers , since the management of human resources is a line management function, so we can argue the point that to leave communication to the Communications department is to court disaster.
Traditional organisational structures are very good at compartmentalizing functions causing the "traditional silo effect". There is an old saying: " That which is not inspected, will never be respected".
To improve communications flow in your organisation, I have formulated a number of questions for you to ponder over and to discuss at your next meeting.
- Have all managers been trained in the communications responsibilities of their work? I believe that all managers need to receive training in interpersonal, intrapersonal and organisational communication. We cannot assume that people know how to communicate. We must equip them with knowledge and skills to do so. No media will ensure correct communication. People make communication work.
- Who monitors standards of communication and the handling of problems that have communications implications? Too often Labour Relations problems are solved using traditional IR methods, only to later on realise that the real causes were not addressed.
- Are communication responsibilities written into their job descriptions?
- Who is pro-actively and professionally managing internal and external communications in the organisation, and does that person have the professional know-how, responsibility, authority, accountability and status ? And most importantly is that person sharing and coaching the rest of the organisation or is he or she just managing their silo?
Still in doubt? Then ask any employee what breaks down more often than the photocopier or delivery vehicle. They will all say Communication. Why not make it a manager’s responsibility? Why not provide them with the tools to improve it?