One of the greatest challenges that we struggle with as Entrepreneurs (and something I’ve had to learn a few hard lessons from over the decades) is how to effectively transfer ideas over to my team.
All too often we have these amazing ideas that we want to execute…
Oftentimes these amazing ideas have absolutely nothing to do with the long-term goal and strategy…They are often short-sighted and simply satisfy a need in the short-term.
We’re running a million miles a minute, juggling multiple priorities, and most times we simply throw out our ideas with the least amount of explanation or detail and assume our team has exactly what they need to execute what we envision in our mind.
We also assume they know where it fits into the overall picture.
They put all their effort into giving us exactly what we communicated that we wanted.
And then we see it.
Our reaction of “This is not what I asked for” immediately produces a look of bewilderment and disappointment upon their faces because the LAST thing they want to do is let us down…
Them: They just poured their heart and soul into exactly what we communicated we wanted.
You: You become frustrated, and end up doing it yourself or starting all over again.
Time and energy is wasted.
Disappointment is felt by everyone.
Projects aren’t completed on time.
Eventually, you find yourself with a revolving door of team members coming and going because they simply just stop engaging.
Why? Because they start to feel an overwhelming frustration and sense of failure.
Then comes utter defeat and they either leave or you let them go.
Here’s one of the biggest lessons I had to learn the hard way…
Your team does NOT know exactly what you are thinking unless you clearly communicate it.
They are not psychics.
They are not mind-readers.
If you find yourself in this situation more than you care to admit, it’s time to start looking at how YOU communicate.
If you find yourself continuously disappointed in what’s being produced for you, or you find yourself constantly micro-managing, or you start taking responsibility away from your team (no longer empowering them, but criticizing and devaluing them) …
Take a moment to really think about how you can start communicating better about what you’re thinking, needing, and wanting so your team isn’t trying to fill in the blanks with what they perceive you want.
Earlier this week I was talking with a good friend of mine (who also happens to be a fellow Entrepreneur). He wanted a “retro” video created to attract a certain target audience. The goal was to elicit a feeling of nostalgia and trigger an emotion in their heart when they saw this “old school” video.
He explained how he really wanted something different– Something that really resonated with the target audience on an emotional level. Something that would stand apart from what everyone else out there was doing.
After sharing his idea with his team, they said,
“This is incredible! We got this!”
So they went on to create exactly what he asked for. It was different, it was retro, it was moving. It encompassed every element he had asked for and then some (as he sent it to me to watch).
He then told me he told his team he was disappointed because it wasn’t at all what he asked for. His next remark was, “They missed the mark 100%”.
From where I was standing, I told him I thought it was absolutely amazing, and I couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t completely floored by it!
If anyone else heard the instructions he gave, and anyone else saw the results, they would have agreed it was a complete understanding of what was communicated.
He responded with, “I’ve got to get this done in the next few days. I’m just going to have to do it myself, it wasn’t what I wanted”.
The following week (days past the deadline)…
He ended up filming his own video. A video that looked exactly like what everyone else was putting out there.
Again…Time and energy wasted, all involved are disappointed, the project wasn’t completed on time,
PLUS, the second video (at best) was mediocre (in my opinion).
If this sounds all too familiar, here are a few things I’ve found that really help me (and my team):
- Slow down to speed up.
After sharing ideas my team, I set time aside to brainstorm and collaborate with them. This not only results in additional clarity, it always seems to produce even better ideas, and options that I would never have thought of alone.
2. Give examples.
I give the team examples of what I like and what I don’t like when it comes to particular projects. Most Entrepreneurs are “visual” learners, so use this communication strategy as an opportunity to help convey what you’re thinking, and what you have in mind.
3. Practice reflective listening.
At the bare minimum, make this a requirement. Reflective listening is when the person who is listening has the opportunity to to reiterate what they heard to ensure it’s what you meant to say.
After you communicate your idea, ask your team to take a moment to analyze what you just conveyed. Then ask them to reflect the message back to you. Confirm that they either properly understood or not. If not, give them more explanation.
When you exercise these effective communication tactics, I’m think you’ll find the new found confidence in all the talented people on your team. Plus, they will feel empowered again and that’s when amazing things will happen within your team structure and within your business overall.
To your success,
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