FUNDAMENTALS OF COMMUNICATIONS
"To improve communications, work not on the
utterer but the recipient."
It is the recipient who communicates. Unless there is
someone who hears, there is no communication. There is only noise. One
can perceive only what one is capable of perceiving. One can communicate
only in the recipients' language or in their terms. And the terms have
to be experience-based. We perceive, as a rule, what we expect to
perceive. We see largely what we expect to see, and we hear largely what
we expect to hear. The unexpected is usually not received at all.
Communication always makes demands. It always demands that the recipient
become somebody, do something, believe something. It always appeals to
motivations. If it goes against her aspirations, her values, her
motivations, it is likely not to be received at all or, at best, to be
Where communication is perception, information is
logic. As such, information is purely formal and has no meaning.
Information is always encoded. To be received, let alone to be used, the
code must be known and understood by the recipient. This requires prior
agreement, that is, some communication.
ACTION POINT: Take steps to improve
communications by asking recipients to initiate an information exchange.
Formulate questions such as, "What objectives do you believe are
appropriate for your area of responsibility next quarter?"
Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, practices.
RULES FOR STAFF WORK
"Staff work is not done to advance knowledge;
its only justification is the improvement of the performance of
operating people and of the entire organization."
First, staff should concentrate on tasks of major
importance that will continue for many years. A task of major importance
that will not last forever- for example, the reorganization of a
company's management ñ is better handled as a one time assignment.
Staff work should be limited to a few tasks of high priority.
Proliferation of staff services deprives them of effectiveness. Worse,
it destroys the effectiveness of the people who produce results, the
operating people. Unless the number of staff tasks is closely
controlled, staff will gobble up more and more of operating people's
scarcest resource: time.
Effective staff work requires specific goals and
objectives, clear targets, and deadlines. "We expect to cut
absenteeism in half within three years or two years from now we expect
to understand the segmentation of our markets sufficiently to reduce the
number of product lines by at least one third." Objectives like
these make for productive staff work. Vague goals such as "getting
a handle on employ behavior" or "a study of consumer
motivation" do not. Every three years or so, it is important to sit
down with every staff unit and ask, "what have you contributed
these last three years that makes a real difference to this
ACTION POINT: Keep support staff small and few.
Establish specific goals and deadlines for all staff work. Make sure
goals are linked directly to one or more organizational goals.
The Frontier of Management
"If you think you can win, you can win. Faith is
necessary to victory."
WILLIAM HAZLITT (1778-1830), British critic, poet,
"If I see a good footballer, I like one of that
guys who goes in hard for the ball and plays it all the time. Guys who
stand on the sidelines, the receivers, are not the ones who will
JOHN ELLIOTT, Australian businessman.
"If the customer is faced with two equivalent
products, the reason he usually choose one over the other is service.
The promise of excellent service is how you win new customers and
clients. What many of us forget, however, is that the continued delivery
of that service is how you keep clients. It's good business. In the long
run, it costs a lot less to hold onto existing clients than to find new
Mark H. McCormack, American consultant.
"If, as a customer, you find the service you
receive less than you deserve, it's probably more a reflection of
leadership than front line competency. Skills training is critical but
nothing will ever replace a great example."
BOB ASHFORD, Australian tourism industry executive.
"In a courtroom, a good lawyer never asks a
witness a question to which he doesn't already know the answer."
"In Japan the commitment to quality is so
ingrained it's almost like personal hygiene."
LEE IACOCCA, American automotive industry leader.
"Quality is remembered long after the price is
GUCCI FAMILY, Italian fashion industry dynasty.
"The empires of the future will be the empires
of the mind."
WINSTON CHURCHILL (1874-1965), British Statesman,
Prime Minister (1940-45 & 1951-55)