Monday, 20 July 2009

Closed loop communications

Oh dear, oh dear. It would appear that I haven't blogged since April and it's now nearly the end of July. I think that counts as procrastination don't you?

So then, a quick post (when procrastinating my advice is to do something, start small, get back in the swing), on a theme which is showing up as a problem for a few of my clients at the moment: Closing the loop on a conversation, or rather, not closing it. Comments like this are symptomatic...

"My boss said he was interested in any ideas I had when I joined, but none of my suggestions have been followed up".

"No idea sorry, we're always the last to know".

"Didn't someone say something about an office move at Christmas? Is that happening or what?"

This sort of dialogue can be light hearted, but if it's a regular occurence then boredom, frustration and cynicism are probably just around the corner. It's not that closed loop communication is hard, far from it, it's because it's easy that it gets forgotten.

Take the employee who goes to their boss with new idea. The boss listens, thinks it's a good idea and tells the employee he'll discuss with some others. EMPLOYEE EXCITED. In discussions it becomes clear that the idea won't work right now because of X,Y and Z but could work later on. The boss decides to review in 6/12 months. Great. Except the boss forgets to tell the employee what happened to the progress of his idea, because there's no real result yet. The employee is too embarrassed to chase up. EMPLOYEE SAD. (If it happens a second time it will be EMPLOYEE PISSED OFF).

The thing about this example is that most of the hard work was done. The manager made time to listen to the idea, took it forward, discussed its merits and made a decision. It was just the last little bit, which changes employee perception of the situation so drastically, that was forgotten.

My advice? Whatever level of a company you are at, get used to putting items on your to do list that start with "Get back to....". If YOU are the employee with the idea, then catch up with your boss to ask what happened to it, loops can be closed from either end!

1 comment:

anthony deloach said...

Closed loop communication is only evolving now, it should reign the markets within the next years