Glenn Ross asks a lot of really valuable questions in his post The Most Important Component in a Relationship. What is it? Communication. He starts the article by quoting Dale Carnegie:
“90 percent of all management problems are caused by miscommunication.”
That is a staggering percentage but I would tend to believe it is true. Whether the miscommunication is in person or more likely through email (you can’t see the person’s face or hear the tone of voice), it can cause severe damage to a relationship which in turn impacts the company’s ability to successful proceed.
I’m part of a small group introducing a new concept and trying to reach a new audience. Most of the people on the committee have been working on the project for more than a year but a couple are new. At a recent meeting one person who has been there a while got into a discussion with one of the new people. Both had valid points. Both had distinctly differing views. Both felt they were right.
Neither listened to the other.
The results? Well, there wasn’t one. How many times have you seen that happen at work. Two people, both strong in their beliefs, refuse to listen to the other point of view and rather than compromise or come to some resolution the situation goes on unresolved. Who suffers? In this case, it will be the customer.
So what can we do?
If we find ourselves repeating our point of view more than twice, perhaps we need to step back and listen to what is being said in response. Rather than muscle your idea through, ask questions of the other person. Why do they feel that way? What do they fear will happen? How to they envision it proceeding? What other experience have they had that has led them to their opinions?
People don’t mis-communicate for sport – there is something else involved. So the next time you are in a disagreement or find that you have been misunderstood – don’t get defensive, ASK questions to understand where the other person is coming from.
Remember the old saying – we have TWO ears and ONE mouth and we should use them proportionately.
Thanks to Glenn for reminding us of the importance of communication.