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April 13, 2011

Free Diagnostic: Assess the Communication Skills Your Team Needs Most

Quick Assess for Individuals

I am passionate about using communications to drive business results and helping clients develop the best internal communications to deliver on their organization’s priorities and needs.  I’m also passionate about helping leaders and their teams grow, develop, and step to the plate in significant ways.

To pursue that goal, the first step is to define how your work can most closely connect to your business objectives. Once you have priorities and needs defined, you can assess where you and your team are most effective, see where you have gaps or opportunities, and decide on steps toward improvement.

We have a free tool that can get you started.  My dad used to say, “Son, nothing in life is free.”  Rest assured, this tool and our report is free.  The investment required is your time to complete the tool, along with the time to review your report and determine next steps.

Our QuickAssess tool in the Leader Resources section of our website will give you a sense of where you are and where your teams can improve. The tool asks you to evaluate 15 communications skills in two ways:  How important the skill is to your daily work and how effective your team is in that particular area. The resulting report shows the areas of greatest opportunity to help you determine next steps for improvement.

You can complete the tool yourself by assessing your whole team, or better yet, include your team in the assessment process and we’ll aggregate the results.

In our analysis of the QuickAssess results we’ve seen in the past six months, it was interesting to see what areas of communications present the most challenges these days. Based on the results of more than two dozen teams from last year, three areas topped the list as most common critical areas of focus.  Here are some thoughts on why these were in the top tier:

Communication planning:  It is no accident that setting goals and the planning steps and milestones to achieve them will increase your chances for success.  To be more effective in internal communications, you need to be purposeful and plan.  Leaders, especially, can do more in this area.

Handling objections and tough situations:  This becomes easier when you have clear objectives and expectations that you can confidently defend. For example, what is your elevator speech on how your team contributes to drive business results? Tough situations can become calm conversations when you have thought throughhow and why a particular action or approach delivers value and supports the business objective.

Measurement:  Establishing metrics, including benchmarks and outcomes sought,will enable you to demonstrate your value. Letting the numbers speak for themselves also supports better decision-making and establishes impact on the organization, not to mention speaks directly to those left-brain leaders who want and need data.

The second tier of most-often-needed critical communications skills included:

Consulting and working with leaders: Leaders need trusted advisors who can help them understand how and when to communicate and develop messages that will engage the organization. It can start with asking the questions that uncover what employees want to know.

Influence:  Using communication skills to meet goals through others, often by considering their points of view, engaging them and helping them understand how working together will accomplish business objectives.

Messaging:  Whether to support change or help people connect their work with the company’s goals, clear messages are critical to communications success.  There are tools and options for developing messages and it all starts with understanding the goal and the people you need to engage. 

Giving and getting feedback:  This all-important aspect of two-way communication is critical to motivating and engaging employees. There are ways to buildfeedback mechanisms into the organization as a whole and to help individuals use feedback effectively within their teams. 

Where are your team’s opportunities for improvement?

What steps can you take to move your communication to the next level?

To see how your team measures up, take a minute to try the QuickAssess Tool today.


- David Grossman

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