Too Much Information
It is a given that since we can say as much as we want in multiple forums these days, almost everyone - including businesspeople - provide too much information (TMI) in their exchanges. Many organizations have lost the art of cutting to the chase, if indeed it ever really existed. I should know. I have been involved with launching a number of business ventures, including OfficeMax and my newest business, Max-Wellness, a recently launched only-one-of-its-kind health and wellness retail chain concept.
The lessons I've learned have convinced me that a great leader's management style should mirror that of a benevolent dictator. That is not at all as scary as it sounds because, at the end of the day, the "dictator" side of you calls the shots and makes the difficult decisions. However, your "benevolent" side conveys the message in such a way that puts the interests of the organization, your team, and your customers ahead of your own. An essential part of being a benevolent dictator is requiring clear, concise communication at all levels, so that key decisions can be made quickly and conveyed effectively.
Before today's instant transmission of words and numbers by lightning-fast speed, you had to talk to your boss in person, on the phone, or in a hard copy report. In all of those formats, it was in your best interest to get to the point quickly. These days, though, there are Email inboxes, shared calendars and documents, instant messaging programs, and much more. Employees can send a constant stream of information to their leaders - and that's a serious problem. That is even bleeding into face-to-face interactions, too.
If you've ever asked a team member or other coworker a basic question and gotten an Email that took you some 15 minutes to read and answer, one that should have taken 15 seconds, then you know what I mean. Many people seem to have a compulsion to provide minute, detailed responses embellished with "he said, she said" anecdotes. But really ... who cares?
As a leader, you need the basic, bottom line, and you need it now. Maybe your team members want to provide you with excessive detail in the hope that you will recognize them as the ultimate expert on the topics at hand. However, you must let them know that a succinct response containing the essential data is much more valuable.
If you would like to encourage more concise and effective communication in your organization, read on for my seven tips.