“You did what?”
You snarl at your marketing manager.
Once again, the marketing team has oversold their sponsorships.
This error attacks your budget.
It forces you to be reactive.
But, what has you upset the most is that they decided to tell you this morning.
The morning of the event.
They’ve done this before, and you are tired of it.
“We need to fix this now,” you assert to Sarah, your marketing manager.
She apologizes for the breakdown in communication.
Her marketing specialist did not inform your team, but Sarah takes full responsibility.
“There has to be a way to improve communication throughout each department,” you say.
The two of you begin formulating concepts.
You must first understand what’s causing communication challenges before you can address how to improve it.
Keep reading; this article will help you identify where there might be a breakdown.
Then, you’ll learn how to fix it.
Conflicts Between Employees
When managers or staff are not speaking to each other, it makes it tough for others to communicate effectively.
Personal agendas and conflict prevent the team (and complete operation) from communicating effectively.
Communication Equals Time
Members of other teams may not take the time to share relevant information when they’re under pressure to complete tasks and deadlines within their department.
When the pressure to produce is present, communication as a priority may not be present to them.
Communication Guidelines Have Gray Areas
The importance of documenting crucial details, processes, and protocols are as critical as tracking incidents.
Many times, procedures for interdepartmental communication are not outlined.
But they need to be!
Effective communication between departments is challenging when they’re located on different floors or other buildings.
Space can create obstacles.
Sharing crucial information may be less important to them than potentially making that dreaded trek to your office – knowing the chance of you being there is slim to none!
Four Stages for Improving Communication
We’re aware you’re busy; that’s why we put together four short and useful steps to improve communication.
You don’t have to wait for your next event to bring them into action either.
You can start the process today.
- Determine Vital Information
- Build Relationships
- Create Processes
- Invest in Technology
1. Determine Vital Information
What information stays unchanged on a weekly basis?
Each department needs to create a list of the missing details from other departments.
And their routine expectations.
You always know you’ll need the number of sponsorship activations, so you can order enough chairs.
There you go.
First one we did for you.
The need-to-know information gets to the need-to-know staff.
Let’s not forget, on time.
2. Build Relationships
We’re proponents of role-playing, but team building is great too, primarily if you’re working with other leaders.
Develop quality leaders and the rest of your operation benefits.
Once they’re communicating on the same channel – it’ll trickle down.
Team building can significantly improve how well department leaders and their teams work with each other and other departments.
3. Create Processes
Each department needs to include steps outlining when and how information should flow between departments before, during, and after each day congruent with your vision.
Now it’ll be in black and white.
4. Invest in Technology
What’s this you ask?
It’s the glue.
After you've enhanced communication among teammates, bring it together with software that will take your operation and communication to another level – not just software that’s limited to one functionality either.
Invest in a fully integrated operations management software.
Picture this; your front-line staff can communicate a broken cup holder to the operations center through incident management mobile applications.
It gets better, though.
The operations center pushes the details of the broken cup holder into your incident management system (IMS) with a click of a button.
Then they quickly and seamlessly generate a work order within the software solution for the maintenance team to view, manage and complete the work order directly from the CMMS that talks to your IMS.
Click, click, done.
How’s that for efficiency?
Over to You
Commit to improving communication throughout all departments. The sooner you take care of this problem, the better you are in the long run.
Proactive operations have a reliable communication process in place. Are you proactive, or are you reactive?
Editor's note: This post was originally published in July 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness and freshness.