a side note, have you read either of the two new books for
managers "on the way in?" Over at the 800-CEO-READ
blog, they've mentioned that there is a little tiff between
the authors of two new books.
According to the blog, Michael Watkins says his book The
First 90 Days is too similar to You're
In Charge-Now What? by Thomas Neff and James Citrin. One
says "Extensive parallels" and the other says "Outrageous."
The story goes on to say there are lots of threats of lawsuits
between various parties.
See the 800-CEO-READ
blog for a link to a Forbes article on the subject and
an opportunity to post your comments.
TRUST ON THE WAY IN PART V: SIX COMMUNICATIONS MISTAKES NEW
the new person in charge, you’ve got to figure out how
your group communicates. In what form(s) does communication
take place? What works and what doesn’t? Can you add
to or improve the process?
If you’re going to build trust
on the way in, get on the right track for information and
communication. There are a number of aspects to this principle,
and it affects not just what information is transmitted, but
how it occurs and with whom. And there are
so many ways to get it wrong (or right).
Here are six important ones to heed:
1) Writing memos (or e-mails)
when everyone else in the organization just picks up the phone.
Or, doing something organizationally
In one dysfunctional technology firm
we observed, much of the senior leadership spent a vast amount
of time on Internet Messenger with one another. Not just a
little bit of IM, but lots of it. Huge amounts. People practically
stopped going into their colleagues' offices. Live conversations
and phone calls were nearly replaced by the ping of the IM.
With a change of leadership, the IM traffic (fortunately)
diminished, and the place began making its way back to more
Figure out what gets written, and what
2) Being overly restrictive (or expansive) on the
distribution list of who gets your messages or participates
in your meetings.
Not inviting the right people is sure
to cause some hurt feelings. Invite too many and you not only
end up with too large a crowd to get anything done, but you’ve
wasted a lot of people’s time. This is a good opportunity
to ask your
guide what is expected.
3) Being a "Word"
thinker or communicator in a "Powerpoint" organization,
or vice versa.
If, as Aristotle reportedly said (albeit
in the Greek language of his day) that "the soul never
thinks without a picture," how should you paint the picture
in your new situation?
4) Scheduling meetings with
the inappropriate level of planning, formality or organization.
For better or worse, some company leaders'
days are now run by MeetingMaker software (or something comparable).
If you keep on trying for the impromptu meeting in a MeetingMaker
setting, it'll take a long time to get much done. It all depends
on the rhythm of the place.
5) Changing trusted communications
One CEO we know faithfully does a Saturday
morning "radio broadcast" via voice-mail to his
300 top managers worldwide, and gets both voice-mail and e-mail
responses. People have become very accustomed to it since
he initiated it some four years ago. Is this approach (or
something similar) right for you in your new role?
6) Communicating with the wrong
level of frequency or tone.
It's really important for you to figure
out how you'll hit the right level of touch, in both tone
and frequency. As you might suspect, over-communication is
rarely the problem that needs correction.
The list could go on and on, and would
include the timing and frequency of staff meetings or call-ins,
organization-wide meetings or communiqués, informal
lunches for data gathering, etc.
The bottom line, as you make your way
in, is clear. Find the right rhythms and systems that will
work FOR you, retaining those methods that are culturally
important to the organization, and introducing or discarding
others so as to increase the level of trust inside.
Have you ever noticed a new manager
making a big communications mistake? Let
forward this newsletter to your colleagues and friends who
are interested in organizational and leadership issues. Your
feedback is always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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