How would you rate your team on communication? Your answer to that question is likely based on one thing. That is, how well you balance the risks and the rewards of communication.
Maybe your initial reaction would be something like, “Oh man, our communication is fantastic!
You’d think, Well, we have lots of communication going on all the time. Yeah, that’s not exactly what we’re talking about. Consider this:
Many times, leaders and their teams think they’re doing great when it comes to communicating with each other in the office. What we discover though, after a bit of digging, is that most are seriously mistaken!
So, let me push a bit deeper on this. Are you communicating to your colleagues and teams in a way that brings clarity, unity, and growth to your business?
Ah, maybe that hits a little closer to the mark?
Now, let me tell you what we’ve discovered. After having hundreds of leaders and their teams in our offices year after year, we’ve asked them all the same questions.
I can tell you that what generally passes for “good communication” in most businesses is not. It’s just a small fraction of the quality and the quantity that it really needs to be.
In fact, after carefully looking at team dynamics and interpersonal communication among leaders and team members, do you know what we find? We find that quality communication is a huge, missing piece.
Relaying vital information in a meaningful way, or in other words, quality communication, is essential to your team’s health and success.
It empowers your members to take ownership of their work. That right there would be a huge step forward for some teams! But, not only that, it also helps them remain accountable and get moving forward with excellence.
High levels of quality communication can easily become your team’s greatest asset. However, a lack of great communication – and at high levels with regular intervals – can absolutely be your greatest liability as a company.
I can’t emphasize this enough: the number #1 issue that we see holding leaders and teams back from greater unity and growth is too little high-quality communication.
So, let me push on this piece from a different angle. Where communication is concerned, what’s holding you back from greater clarity and perspective?
There are several reasons that leaders tend to get blocked in this area. Complaints such as fear, anxiety, stress, poor internal processes, and the Leadership Crazy Cycle are among the constant culprits.
With so many things that can go wrong, including a loss of unity, erosion of culture, and followers getting offended, communication is tricky to master. Most leaders pull back from it, instead of pushing into it.
Communication, we discover, is a seriously risky business!
If we’re not pursuing excellence when it comes to communication, then we’ll never experience the truly great rewards that are waiting for us (and our businesses).
Greater unity, growth, and job satisfaction are just some of the benefits that are waiting for you!
On today’s show, we’re going to take a deeper look at communication and try to solve this dilemma for leaders and team members alike.
It’s worth the effort, I promise you.
Chris LoCurto 0:00
How to communicate with others in a way that brings clarity and unity that is coming up next.
Chris LoCurto 0:16
Welcome to the Chris's LoCurto show where we discuss leadership and life and discover that business is what you do, not who you are. Welcome to the show, folks, I hope you're having a fabulous day, wherever you are. Today we're talking about the ups and downs of communication, especially when it's tough. Now, some of you may know Sam Walton from Walmart, previous owner of Walmart, he said, that communicate everything you can to your associates, the more they know, the more they'll care once they care, there's no stopping them. So information and more accurately quality communication, and lots of it is vital to your team taking ownership of their work, remaining accountable and moving forward with excellence. Think about that leaders think about that team members, right? The greater the quality communication, the more ownership, the more somebody doesn't just come work for a job. But instead they own it. They take accountability for it, they move things forward. So let's start with a simple question. What's holding you back as a leader from relaying vital information to your colleagues and your teams in order to bring clarity, unity and growth to your business? Now? Maybe you have a knee jerk reaction to that question. And the reaction is, wait a second, our communication is fantastic. I will tell you, we hear that all the time. Anybody who's listened to this that's been through strapline knows that we are giving a little secret away here. So folks that are coming through strat plan soon will probably pick up on this. Anybody who's been through knows that I'll ask on the opening that how communication is and the numbers are always high. It's always sevens and eights, very rarely would you see somebody say like a five, right? Unless they've heard me say that I do this little trick. That's not a trick. But the next day, we go through communication, heavy duty, focus on communication. And we will get halfway through the day, three quarters of the day. And I'll say, Hey, guys, write your communication again. And the numbers are like instead of sevens and eights are like twos and threes. They're shocked at how bad the communication is. Now they thought it was phenomenal. What's the difference? Why is it so shocking? Because nobody's taught them high levels of quality communication and what that looks like. So here's what I'm saying. The number one issue that we see with every single business that we work with, coming into our programs, the number one issue that is holding leaders and teams back from greater unity and greater growth is a lack of high levels of quality communication. And I mean quality communication. Yep. And that might be true for you and your business as well. So let me put it another way, high levels of quality communication can be your greatest asset, while at the same time, the lack of this kind of communication at this level can absolutely be your greatest liability. There's just no way around it. But if it's risky to not communicate well with your team and colleagues, then why are so many business leaders and owners communicating so poorly? Well, it turns out that communication itself is a risky business. So when we come back why so many leaders don't communicate well with their teams, and what their risk is by not turning things around me?
Chris LoCurto 3:56
Hey, folks, a couple of years ago, I was visiting with a client and the CEO said to me, Chris, we're not going to hit our goal. I asked him what he meant. And he said, We're gonna miss our three year revenue goal coming out of strap plan by a few months. I didn't realize it at first, that he was having a little fun with me by saying they were about to triple their company in less than three years. How freaking awesome is that? Folks? These are the kinds of results that businesses get by coming through our four day strat plan event. On average, we find $2.1 million worth of revenue in the next 12 months that the company was not planning on. And this event is for all sized businesses. If you're small, medium or large. It works for every single business because it's not industry specific. It's about gaining all the information about all the things inside of your business that are holding you back from success. And then giving you a plan and a process on how to walk that out and be successful in your business. By discovering the things that are holding you back, it helps you get to all of those goals that you've been planning on for a long time. So if you're ready to get the perspective, you need to solve what's holding you and your business back. So you can grow faster than you need strap plan. To learn more, go to Chris accardo.com/strap plan. That's Chris with curto.com/strap. So before we dive into the risks, and what could be holding you in particular back, we need to talk about what communication is at its core. Now communication is it's a broad subject. Most dictionaries have it as the imparting or exchanging of information, sending and receiving messages, transfer of knowledge. But what does it look like in practical business situations? Right? What does communication look like? In zoom meetings? What does it look like in email exchanges? What does it look like in vocal exchanges? What does it look like when you're doing training or directing somebody tasks, delegating mastermind coaching, voice messages, difficult, sit down, tough conversations, hiring, interviews, firing interviews, and so on and so forth. Communication is more than just words. There's both verbal and nonverbal communication. I think every single one of us understands that if we've ever received or sent a text that was misunderstood, on having a specific attitude or a specific tone, I learned that back in the 90s, I was doing logistics in the early 90s. And I sent a message to somebody and they asked me why I was so upset. And I couldn't figure out why they were asking me this question. And then they showed me the message. And when I looked at it, from their point of view, I could see that it came across as being something upset. I'm like, no, no, no, that means this. And it goes, you know, I wonder if I took that the wrong way. That caused me to be the king of exclamation points. I am the guy who puts smiley faces in an exclamation points for decades, because I don't want my message to be unclear. And it sucked feeling like I, you know, caused somebody to think that I was upset at them when I was actually just relaying a piece of information in a different way. So it's important that we understand that communication is more than just words, there's both verbal and nonverbal communication. And to make matters even more complex, there's personality styles that complicate our sending and receiving of information. You've heard me say that a lot. So there's a lot going on. And that's the point. There's a lot going on. There's a lot that can and does go wrong and communication among teams and leaders, people can choose to be offended. No matter how you deliver your message, how well you do if you do it really well, if you do, okay, if you're phenomenal at it, people can still be offended. People can misunderstand the information, they can misunderstand your intentions, like I was just pointing out.
Chris LoCurto 8:18
People can feel overwhelmed. More information can add complexity, not enough information can add complexity. I remember one time years ago, I was delivering something on we were moving in a direction on something. And I was just sharing with the team some of the stuff that we were going to do. And I was watching one of my team members eyes just bat enrolled back in her head, a very high C personality style, I stopped and I said hey, what are you experiencing right now? Because I knew she was taking on stuff. And I hadn't gotten to the point of saying what we're going to do with the tasks that we're going to do. And so I said, What are you receiving? She's like, you just added a ton of work to my plate and I go, did I give you that work yet? And she's like, well, I guess not. And I said, okay, then don't receive that yet. Right? Let me finish with the communication and get to where we're going to be adjusting things, moving things around, changing priorities, all that kind of fun stuff. And you could just see the relief hit her face at that point. But I still needed to recognize that as I was delivering this information, she was receiving it as though it was going to be something that was dumped on her plate. So part of great communication is reading those nonverbals, right being able to see that somebody is responding that way. So a lot of what we're talking about isn't so much about communication or information so much as leadership. So let's clear the playing field a bit. As a leader, your job requires you to communicate. Now we're going to touch on this later, but the more mature and self aware you are as a leader, the less you'll find these kinds of communication errors. That said, let's go ahead and dive into some The risks the risky business of communication. So I want you to ask yourself two questions about risk, the risk side of communication. Number one, ask yourself this question. Why don't leaders typically communicate well, right? And if right now you're saying to yourself, I do a phenomenal job, let's just assume that you don't, you know, maybe you're incredible. Maybe you're top of the rung here on being able to communicate incredibly well. But let's just assume that maybe you don't, right? Why don't leaders typically communicate? Well, the first thing to say here is that great communicators are incredible. Listeners, a huge hurdle in communication, is that we often don't listen to understand. Instead, we'll often listen, you know, even at a minimum, just enough so that we can reply. How many times have you experienced it? Or how many times have you done this yourself? That you're listening in, you're building your reply in your head at the moment, you're not getting all the information, you're not gaining perspective, you're not even going to ask any questions back, you're just ready to reply. One of the things that drives me crazy, is as I start to discuss something explained something whatever in somebody shoots it down with a reason. And they haven't even heard the whole thing. Right? And it becomes one of those things. It's like, okay, can I let me go ahead and finish this? Let me put this out there. And then afterwards, like, oh, well, then this answer over here is like, if you just wait two seconds, you can hear the whole thing. Don't listen to reply. Listen to understand, be curious, be curious, what does this person have to say? Where are they trying to go? What are they trying to communicate, right? And as long as you're curious, then it makes it easy for you to gain perspective. If you are self centered, if you're so focused, and you're only listening to reply, then quality perspective gathering cannot, can not happen. You cannot gain quality perspective. While your focus is on you relaying information, it's impossible. Think about it, it's not that difficult to understand. If all you're waiting to do is respond, you're not getting good information. Another hurdle is, instead of gaining perspective, we're trying to gain an advantage.
Chris LoCurto 12:26
I see this all the time when people are self protective. I see this all the time when people are defensive. I see this all the time when people are trying to control or manipulate a conversation or a person or a situation where instead of gaining quality perspective, their focus is on getting an advantage, right? If I'm self protective, I want to protect myself. I'm gonna start throwing things out maybe attacks, maybe accusations, whatever. Which what does that mean? Again, back to self focused self centeredness? I can't possibly gain perspective because I'm focused on how do I have an advantage? How do I gain an advantage? Another hurdle is while we're forming our response, we're literally missing valuable information. Now, for those of you who quite often find yourselves in a conversation with somebody and you feel like you've got everything and you start spitting things out, only to find out that you missed things you didn't hear things. Listen, take responsibility on that, right? You've got to recognize that because you're not all there, you're not all focused, you're not present. You're so focused on you that you're missing information, that you're not hearing everything. So what does it take it takes transparency, which is, you know, literally openness and an honesty, it takes accountability, it takes vulnerability. Now, that may hurt. If you're with me on this and you're being self reflective enough and you're being, you know, open to this being something you may struggle with that might hurt. It's probably not what you wanted to hear. But this ties into some of the obstacles that leaders might be sensing. Some of the obstacles would be stress. You know, I've got so much going on that I don't have time to communicate well, I'm too overwhelmed. We see that all the time. I've had those moments in my earlier career, where being tasked saturated. I didn't have time to communicate. Let's go guys, we got it. We gotta get this done. Do your part, right. And then next thing you know, I'm not communicating well enough for somebody to do their job, right. How about insecurity, I don't want to be too open, they might see my weaknesses. Listen, folks, leaders, let me help you to understand something very important. Your team already knows your weaknesses. Think about the people that you've worked for in the past and the weaknesses that you recognized in them. Guess what your team recognizes them and you so stop being insecure. Stop worrying about your weaknesses. Recognize your own weaknesses and fill Those with people who are strong in those areas, I have a lot of folks on my team who are high compliant, high C personality styles. Because I'm weak in that area that is not I'm I think I'm, after 30 years, I'm finally up to like a 40. On my C, I'll never be a high C, and that's okay. It's a weakness of mine, I am not phenomenal with details. I focus on dt, I used to be a 10. C, about 30 years ago, 28 years ago, something like that. But I realized that if I didn't cover myself, then I would, it would come back to bite me in the butt later on. So I have forced myself over the years to be detailed in areas. And it's still only taken me up to like a 40, right? I'm weak in that I need people who are much better than me in those areas. So if I can recognize my weakness, I don't have to worry about insecurity, you're never going to see me fighting to be a strong, high detail person. That's just not, that's not me, I don't care about it. It's not important. What's another obstacle, so forth. If I share with others, then I won't be as strong or valuable. Listen to me, listen to me, listen, to me, Your worth is not in the opinions of others. Now, for your business working for your business, your worth to that company most likely is your ability to accomplish your job well, right. So in our business, that is not people's worth, that's part of their worth, we pay them to do a job, but we look at them through the eyes of God. So that is not their great worth is their ability to pull their job off. That is what we pay them to do. Right. So that's a part of it. But self worth is not a it should not be a struggle in leading and communicating to people. Because your fear is that if you are vulnerable, that you're going to lose power, you're going to lose authority, you're going to lose respect, whatever right? What you will find, what you will find is, the more vulnerable you can be without getting into crazy personal stuff. Don't be too vulnerable. What I'm saying is, is we're talking about communication, if people can understand, like, let's just take, for example, me talking about the fact that I'm weak in my seat, I don't have a problem being vulnerable about that. I'm not trying to protect that. I'm not trying to hide that from people, right? Instead, I want people to understand, guys, don't turn to me for that. If you're looking for details. I've got, you know, a bunch of people on the team, let's get you to them. Come to me for the bigger picture stuff come to me for the deeper answers. But if it's details on where I need to go find a specific, you know, HR form. Well, I'm definitely not the guy that you're going to turn to on that. There's nothing wrong with being vulnerable about that. Another obstacle is anxiety. I'm too busy, I can't focus. I can't take time to train, I can't take time to explain. That kind of anxiety is absolutely going to keep you from being a great communicator. If you're constantly focused on how anxious you are. And listen, people are finding more and more reasons to have anxiety nowadays. I'm not saying they're making it up. I'm just saying a lot of people are absorbing anxiety from things around them. Things from the world things from social media news, all that kind of crap. I stopped watching the news literally, during the Bush gore. Race. I can't even tell you, I don't remember what year that was. Because I found myself having the news on in the morning. And by the time I got to work, I just felt upset. Because of everything that was being reported. I finally said, Oh, cut the news out. Get that stuff out of here. I didn't even watch the news until a couple of years ago. And I needed it when it was during COVID. And that was it right? So get the things out of your life that are causing a lot of anxiety as well. Another obstacle would be pride. I don't have to share information. They just need to do what I say.
Chris LoCurto 19:13
Ah pride, pride, pride pride. This one sucks are all these sock, right? All of these are things that we need to work on we need to fix we need to overcome. We need to be better at Pride is one of those things that you will hold on to, like crazy. Like it's like it's your best friend. Right? Like it's a it's a it's an heirloom that you're keeping because it has such great value. Pride is the false self. Right? It's not the true self. Pride is saying I'm better than I am because I have to puff myself up. So by doing so what tends to happen if you're not going to communicate because of your pride. What you're going to do is This whole thing is going to backfire on you. You're going to not communicate in an attempt to be prideful, which is going to cause you problems in the future, which is going to hurt you. Well done. Great job, guys, we got it, we got to lose the pride. Another obstacle is fear. Well, I don't want to have another confrontation that's uncomfortable. I don't want to, I don't want to say something that somebody gets mad about or fights about or whatever. Listen, if you're fearing the confrontation, I can already promise you, it's probably going to happen. Right? Fear of a confrontation is fearing something that hasn't happened yet. And it may not happen. But there also is this self fulfilling prophecy that we can do that when we avoid something so much or fear something so much, we actually cause it to happen. Jump in, tackle the stuff when you can, when it needs to be done, get it up, done up front, don't do it in anger, get things done, if you have to have a tough conversation, get the tough conversation done, you'll be amazed at how much better it goes than if you wait, and then have it down the road when things have built up and have become more stressful. So number two question, what happens when leaders don't communicate? Well, I want you to ask that. What has happened for jobs that you've had in the past when you've had a leader who didn't communicate well, right? What happens when you don't communicate well, and you see the responses in your team, what happens when communicating? What happens when leaders don't communicate? Well, well, here are just a few risks of letting that list of obstacles I just read, get in your way. One would be lack of direction. A shotgun approach is a definite result of people not communicating well, not making sure that people are lining moving in their same unified direction, no sense of goal, people will go after whatever they think they need to go after right? Lack of unity, lack of unity and mission, vision values, culture, strategies, teamwork breaks down, people become frustrated, it creeps into the individuals into the team into the project that they're trying to accomplish. Isolation teams create silos, they, the whole collaboration collapses, because they're only focused on protecting them or getting the thing done that they need to get for themselves. And they could care less what somebody else is doing and how it affects them. confusion happens que Ray is KPIs are rendered meaningless, because we're not communicating well enough. So we were trying to hold somebody to a result or a measurable. And because there's no great communication, it just doesn't matter, right? Confrontation becomes an obstacle to accountability. So because we're not communicating well, because these obstacles are in our way, because confrontation now exists, it becomes an obstacle for us to be able to hold somebody accountable, right, or to hold a team accountable or a process accountable or a project accountable, right. Bad behavior, and poor performance dominates workplace, when we don't communicate well. That means that we're obviously not doing a great job to hold our culture up, and how we want people to operate in our culture. So guess what happens? Bad behavior happens, poor performance happens. All these things bad culture starts to build up in your own business. Also, culture breaks down and erodes even further, because instead of being able to celebrate the things that are great about our business, unfortunately, what we end up doing is recognizing all the problems that we're experiencing over and over again, which means that we're probably losing champions at this point. We're probably losing clients at this point. And we're probably just not even having fun coming to work every day. So when we come back, what smart leaders know will happen when they cultivate high levels of quality communication, in high quantities on their teams.
Joel Fortner 24:06
Hey, leaders, this is Joel Fortner VP of leadership development at Crystal Kardos. Company. I have some questions for you. Do you as a leader feel like you are caught up in a Crazy Cycle of stress and task that never ends week to week? Do you ever have to deal with tough conversations with team members? And you sit at home the next day the night before worried about how's it going to go? What am I going to say? What are they going to say? Can I think fast enough on my feet? Is it going to be a total failure? Are you experiencing culture problems or that stuff that just breaks down trust and unity on your team? Well, if you're if you can relate to any of this, this is a pretty typical leadership story and situation. Here's the thing though it doesn't have to be that way. And we can help you solve these things. We can help you become the leader that solves these problems and leads 13th to greater success. I want to enter reduce you to the key leaders program. This is an ongoing leadership development program that gives you the lesson track coaching and accountability. You need to become the leader you can become to actually implement what you're actually learning in this program, things fall apart without great leadership and intentionality. If you want to solve the problems that are holding you back from being a great leader, we can help you with this program get in touch Joe at Chris accardo.com.
Chris LoCurto 25:32
Okay, I want to focus on that thought of high levels of quality for a second before we dive into rewards. Now Mark Twain said, the difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. I just love that that's just so fantastic. It's so clear and helping us to understand when we don't communicate well, it could be drastically off, right, the understanding can be drastically off the the performance can be drastically off, the outcome could be drastically off from what we were expecting. So the right words delivered in the right way can make all the difference in your communication. Now, high quality means knowing who you're talking to, and transferring vital information to them in a way that they both understand and can implement. So it's not just enough that they can understand it, can they do something with it? Right? So for it to be high levels of quality, you've got to think more about them. Let me say this again, if you're going to have high levels of quality communication, it can't be about you. It has to be about the other person. Who do we always focus on us? How do I communicate this? Well? How would I want to receive this information? Right, which I'm not saying that's a bad question to ask. But what you should be asking is, who's my audience? And how do they usually receive information if you can get that to them? Fantastic. Okay, so let's say we're doing this alright, Chris, I'm gonna do these things you're talking about? So what are the rewards? If I do? Well, I want to answer two questions about the reward side of communication. Number one is, why do successful leaders communicate? Well, why do they? Why is it so important? Why is it a focus, right? Successful leaders value transparency, and honesty, above their pride. They know that quality communication is about empowering their teams. They know that they must focus on others in order to grow their business. They don't get their sense of worth from appearing to have it all together, they're able to get out beyond their sense of comfort, and pour into others. This is a big one right there, folks, this is big. If you're focused on staying in your comfort zone, the last thing you're going to do is focus on pouring into others. And they're naturally responsive to their team's personality styles in needs. A great leader, everything I just shared there. Every single one of those bullet points is not about you. It's about other people, right? It's not about me, it's about the people. I'm leading, every single one of those, it's about me getting out of my comfort zone. It's about me caring about people's personality styles, how they receive information, it's about me getting my pride out of the way. It's about me empowering other folks. Everything is about the other people. Why do successful leaders communicate? Well, here's the answer, because they understand it's not about them. If you get that, if you get that you can change your communication forever. You can change the way your team operates, your business operates your clients receive information, your vendors receive information, if you can understand that it changes everything. That's when you begin to have high levels of quality communication. Number two, what happens when leaders communicate well, well, there's a lot greater success, productivity, performance is created and organic adherence to culture, which is so vital teamwork and unity. The whole team is pulling together in the same direction, we've got a unified single direction, we're not operating in a shotgun approach. Everyone knows their role and and how to execute that role because it's clear to them. teams know the roles of others and help others to be accountable and to hold other people accountable, which is fantastic because it becomes self policing. Essentially, strategies tend to get executed better and more effectively. I should Change tend to they do, they will get executed better and more effectively. So think about it when you don't have good quality communication, how many your strategies are falling apart, right? confrontation or difficult conversations, tough conversations tends to correct culture.
Chris LoCurto 30:19
Like a chiropractor putting things back into place, things get back in line, and course corrections are made. And there's more clarity to the team members. That is what happens when leaders communicate well. So here's what I'm saying. High levels of quality communication for leaders is ultimately about their maturity, and their self awareness. Let me change that from there to your and I'm speaking to myself, every time I teach this stuff, I'm speaking to me, high levels of quality communication for leaders is ultimately about your maturity, and your self awareness. So some final thoughts on on health and awareness of leaders. Going back to what we said at the beginning, leaders have to be good listeners First, listen, first, in order to be good communicators. Second, I don't remember who it was that came up with the the saying God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason. Use them accordingly. You have twice the number of years, listen twice as much as you speak, right? Leaders can't just give information in the same way that they prefer to receive information. They have to understand who they're speaking to, who is your audience? What are their personality styles, what are their values? How do they tend to receive information? How much time do they need to prepare before you ask them questions or ask them to brainstorm something? How long does it take for them to process information, right? Also, as a leader, putting your finger on the pulse of the situation, and responding accordingly, is vital in order to neither over nor under, respond. So folks, take all this information, right? start recognizing where you're falling short, you, you, you, you, you you, let's start here. Start with you. start recognizing where you're falling short on communication. start recognizing all of these tools that you need to start putting in place, getting your getting yourself out of the way, getting selfishness out of the way getting pride out of the way. start recognizing what it takes to communicate with high levels of quality communication, and then leader. Start making sure that all those around you can do the same exact thing. Teach them help them. Well folks, that's all the time that we have for today. I hope this information has helped you if so, please do us a big favor, rank us review us. This helps us to reach more people. It really really does help if this is helping you do me a favor help us to reach more people. As always take this information, change your leadership, change your business, change your life. And join us on the next episode.