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3 min read

Efficacious Communication - The Millennial Dilemma?

The year is 2017. As an owner or an executive of your company, what is it about the current environment that is causing you sleepless nights? Is it the political environment? Is it the economy? Is it the battle of the "rights" of people?  Or is it your own organization, as it relates to the inner workings? As an executive officer, you should be planning for how you are going to navigate the waters of the environment you do business in. Instead, we find ourselves talking about the millennial generation and all its complexities when it comes to management. What can we learn from the experiences of our past failings in dealing with the younger generation? The following list is an opportunity for self reflection on communication which may aide in the process of learning from mistakes of the past.
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 1) Humble yourself
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The first step of listening and learning is to understand that you do not know everything. Graduates, just because you have a degree doesn't mean you have to have all the answers. If you think you need to prove yourself, well you do. But the proof isn't how smart you think you are. The only thing you need to prove is your intelligence, specifically in your ability to learn. Also, accept failures as opportunities to better yourself. I heard someone once say that they didn't like constructive criticism. Don't be like that person, who is doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Executives, just because you have a certain position in the company, it does not make you right. Saying "We've always done it this way" is a sign of being in the knowing mode and therefore stunted growth. Your competitors are improving daily, if your company is not improving daily in their competencies and process, then you are losing the battle. So listen to what your competent workforce is telling you. After all, you did not recruit your workers based on how dumb robotic they are. Put yourself in a place of learning and of wanting to get better. Be curious. Ask the right questions and ask them from a curious place rather than a place of knowing.

2) Personality and Competency

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Know the personality of your communication partner and yourself. If you speak the same way to every person you meet, you are probably missing out on a great potential of knowledge. Invest into a personality testing tool such as MBS or E-colors. With tools such as those, you can learn the personality of the individuals in the team. You can learn how they think and act, and then modify your actions to achieve greater collaboration. (Check out StoneWall's E-Color Results Here) Have you ever been in a meeting where a select few drive the meeting and basically overtake it? I guarantee that you have a few quiet Pace or Structure individuals who have a wealth of knowledge that could be valuable to the topic at hand, but the Direct Extroverts of the room take over the meeting. What results is a one sided ineffective meeting. Another tool I suggest is called Situational Leadership. It takes into consideration the personality and the competency of the individual that you are communicating with. This requires the leader to be effective at playing the role that needs to be played in order to achieve the outcome desired. Learning the competency of the people and their role within your organization will aide in how well you perform your own role. If you have a less than competent new hire who has a Pace or Structure personality, you might need to be direct with that person and tell them what needs to be done. If you have a highly competent person, who is a Structured analytical thinker, you should probably save your breath and just give the basics or perhaps take a more collaborative approach with that individual. Otherwise they will feel as though you are either wasting their time, or telling them things they already know.
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3) Briefings and Brevity

Meetings can make or break an organization. What are you doing in your organization to ensure you are making it? The well read executive coach, Dr. Lee Thayer, once stated "The cost of communication in most organizations is the single largest cost of running that organization." How are you ensuring that you are not contributing to this cost? I'm sure that you measure this, right? Dr. Thayer also said that "What you don't measure won't be counted... If you don't count the cost of communication, you are missing the major source of hidden costs." The next time you call a meeting, aggregate the cost of all the meeting participants minute by minute... Every encounter is a meeting. So one should probably prepare for meetings before having one. If you are owning the meeting and the cost of the meeting, set the agenda and what you intend to accomplish. Am I effectively utilizing the resources in the meeting by asking their opinion, and not letting the Direct Extroverts of the room run the meeting? Before every unofficial encounter, ask yourself "what does my boss or subordinate need to know?" Am I providing the correct context and facts about the topic? Am I just giving my boss problems? Or am I giving them solutions to the problems? An effective line of communication means anticipating what the other is thinking and being prepared to answer those questions before they are even asked. Lastly, ensure that what you say is heard properly. How do you know that person actually understood what you are trying to say. Think of the questions you should ask to ensure that what they heard is what you wanted them to hear.

Here at Stonewall, we aim to learn and get better each day in every aspect of our job and roles. This includes communication. Want to know more on how we do this? Check out our most valuable tool, HP3(Mind Body Spirit). Click here to learn more about how we go the lengths to improve upon ourselves.
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