When it comes to communication in business, there is one question to ask yourself at any given time: “Does this conversation/interaction/discussion forward the action for our company?”
I am not talking about water cooler, after-work happy hour, or even networking. (Even though sometimes action-forwarding conversations can happen in these venues). I am talking about meetings, emails, knocking on a colleague’s door or cubicle (pre-COVID) for a quick question. Essentially any interaction/conversation that happens when we are on the clock.
Having said this, action-forwarding communications are not necessarily as simple as a yes or no question. Often there are discussions of options, timelines, product modifications, concern about deadlines, etc., and sometimes these can border on, or look like, arguments.
Civil argument (meaning no personal attacks) is okay as long as there is a consensus, and action occurs at the end of the interaction.
In my experience, there are numerous times when action-forwarding communication breaks down. Without going into the specific dysfunctional communication styles, we can find a few general circumstances where communication is not action-forwarding for a company.
- Taking things personally, or making things personal.
- Being more into climbing the corporate ladder than doing your job.
- Getting too focused on unnecessary details (weeds) and thus slowing forward motion.
- Not frequently asking yourself the question that is the title of this article. “Does this interaction forward the action for the organization?”
The last item we can call a mantra, or check in. My analogy for this is when a radio station gives its call letters every fifteen minutes. It is a subtle reminder every once in a while to help keep us on track.
Let’s get things moving!!!