Two Hallmarks of Executive Level Communication
Many leaders could do a better job of communicating. I find there are two key differentiators in the communication of leaders who excel at getting results:
1. Craft clear problem statements. Too often, problem statements lack the specificity needed to unearth the best answers. Consider the problem statement: “We have a communication problem.” That could mean anything from “Our execution plan is not clear” to concerns that employees aren’t getting the message that the refrigerator will be cleaned out on Thursday. An unambiguous statement such as, “We have a problem communicating with customers about changes in scope,” enables a more focused discussion where genuine solutions can emerge.
2. Define the work to be done. When leaders are disappointed about what their team is doing versus what they want them to do, it’s often because they have not sufficiently defined the work to be done. Last year I worked with a sales organization that had undertaken a major initiative around sales coaching. But its execution was haphazard at best and some managers hardly did any coaching. The true change happened when the EVP explicitly stated her objective “Provide consistent coaching to our sales team to sell solutions,” and her performance expectations: 1. Daily call planning for key account meetings and 2. Weekly sales strategy sessions focused on advancing pipeline opportunities. Clearly outlining her expectations made all the difference.
Consider investing time each day, to decide what needs to be conveyed in your next meeting, prepare for a call, or work on a presentation.
For more on this topic, see my latest article on this topic for Forbes.
Are you pushing past the point of diminishing returns with your sales organization? I got a great response last month when I suggested that it happens a lot and provided some alternative approaches to just dialing up the pressure. You can see that here in my Harvard Business Review article titled 3 Ways To Motivate Your Sales Team – Without Stressing Them Out , which was one of HBR’s “most read.”
A Slice of Life Balance
There is an old saying that laughter is the best medicine. Even if it’s not, having a good laugh certainly can’t hurt. As serious as our lives are at times, try looking for something that tickles your funny bone. Call a friend who you often laugh with, watch a funny movie, go to a comedy club, or look for laugh-out-loud videos on the web. Just once in the next week or so, set aside some time for lightness and humor and see how it improves your day.
In the next month or two, I’m going to be changing the format of this newsletter. I’d like to hear from you if there are topics that you’d like me to address or if you have ideas to share about other newsletters you value. Please reply to me directly from this email with your comments.