Good businesses learn to evolve, not just in the way they do things but, just as importantly, in the way they communicate, both with their client base as well as their internal teams. This ability to adapt becomes even more crucial as people move into new roles, or teams change. Managing the way communication is handled is vital to ensure smooth transitions and successful successions.
Team leaders know that success depends on effective communication with all members, and the faster that communication is established the better. A communication plan is just as important as a project plan, working plan and resource plan because it allows everyone on the team to understand how information is going to flow to and from the leader, to and from each other, and to and from other teams.
For each project, team initiative, or task at hand, it’s best to have a clear communication plan. The first step is to understand what you’re planning for. These three easy steps can help develop bespoke communication plans for any project or team:
Focus on results
It seems simple, but this first step is often overlooked. For example, if you have delegated an assignment to a member of your team, what do you hope to gain by communicating? Is it that you want them to seek feedback at certain intervals? Is it that you want them to keep you updated on progress? Is it that you just want to know when the task is done? Without knowing the results you are looking for, it’s hard to determine if and when you and your team members should be communicating.
If you don’t ask, you won’t get
Communication is a two-way street. With any good plan, making sure all members are working well together will ensure a better chance of success. It’s not set-and-forget. Once a team member has been given an assignment, make sure you liaise with them about what they may need from you to complete it to the best of their ability. Advise your team on how best to operate and remember each team member is an individual so one person may be OK with a short conversation, another may prefer a brief email while another may feel more comfortable with more in-depth communications.
Review and adjust
Change takes time, so as you are figuring out how to communicate there will be times where you are readjusting or reimagining the result for which you are looking. There will be times when it just doesn’t seem to be working. Don’t despair. By keeping the lines of communication open and adjusting your communication styles, messages and methods with each team member you should be able to drill down to where any problems may be occurring. It is more important to learn from communication going well, than to worry about being right or wrong.
By spending a little more time creating a thorough communication plan for any project, it soon becomes second nature. Just remember to focus on the result you want, and help others help you find the way.