Will Kenny

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Best Training Practices
Will Kenny
3927 York Ave N
Robbinsdale, MN 55422
612-978-3050

Your Job Description

I know what you do all day, even if we've never met

(reprinted from The Training Tipsheet)

Call me psychic. We may not have met, and I don't know your job title, but I can tell you what takes up most of your work day:

Communication.

"Communication" means any attempt to influence what someone else does, and how they do it. We write memos, make phone calls, and have meetings and other work conversations because we expect to have an impact on the way people do their jobs. And everyone else in your organization (or on your client list) is doing the same thing. Very simply, most of your day is spent either responding to communications from others, or trying to influence what other people do.

Doubt my psychic powers? Don't think this applies to you?

It's easy to test my theory. For the next two days, simply don't participate in any communication. Don't read any memos or e-mails, don't write any. Don't go to meetings. Don't call anyone, and don't answer your phone.

Will your organization (or your clients) become more profitable, more effective, when you drop out of the communication stream? Think you'll get a bonus, or another big contract, after those two days?

Communication, then, influencing others, is the lifeblood of any organization, the way they achieve their mission. Naturally, routine exchanges within your company, and between your company and your customers, account for much of this communication flow.

And that can be a problem: it can get so routine that you don't think about it. Things are done the way they've always been done, and, if you're lucky, you'll get at least the usual results.

But why not think about achieving more than the "usual results"? Outstanding companies explicitly examine their use of energy, space, telephones, travel, and find ways to achieve better results more efficiently. They don't rely on routine assumptions about basic infrastructure, just doing "business as usual." They look for ways to boost their return on investment, either by reducing costs or improving outcomes (or both, hopefully).

Communication is both the main product and the primary process of any effective organization. Isn't it worth a closer look, on both an individual and a corporate level?

  • Does the organization (your own, or the client's) explicitly value effective communication? Do they think that influencing employees to perform better is central to their mission, or do they just assume it gets done?
  • When performance falls short, how often can that be traced to poor communication within the organization?
  • Does anyone review and maintain what holds everyone together, and gets the best results, on a regular basis, the way some leading companies review and tweak their infrastructure? (See my article on maintaining your "communications grid".)
  • If you get expert help with energy, management processes, supply chains and all the rest of the infrastructure, do you look for expert help (internal or external) in optimizing communication efforts?
  • How much of your routine communication has little impact, not only on the recipient, but on the sender? Communication without a clear purpose, that makes no difference to how the recipient performs on the job, is a drain on the company's resources. And if that happens a lot, you're at a competitive disadvantage!

Influencing others is the way things get done. You may not have expected that to be the heart of your work when you started your career (see this article), but once you realize that it is what you do, you can do it even better.

And it is wonderful work to do, once you embrace it. Who could ask for anything more?

© 2007 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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