Communications courses are great, aren’t they?
But… there is a bit of a drawback. These courses do work if you know what you need to communicate. If you don’t then they are largely redundant.
Let me explain.
Nearly all organisations develop departments. I do it. We have a marketing function, a finance function and so on. Even though we know the theory of flat structures, it is actually very difficult to fight this self-arranging mechanism. It’s the way we all do it; education establishments train specialists and we have our innate wolf-pack need to understand where we sit in the pecking order.
I am always interested in the quality of the communications between different functions and in all the organisations I have been in. I have noticed that communications between Delivery and Marketing, in particular, can be poor. The two departments often simply don’t know what they should be talking about. Generally, the Delivery team will be picking up the sales orders and fulfilling them, irrespective of what they were doing last week (or what they are currently set-up to do). Whether they have been delivering Excel training courses or machining widgets — it might be a good idea to continue to make those things. It’s just more efficient that way. Of course, they can’t do that unless the Marketing function knows that this is what they are set up to do. This is an extreme example, but you get the idea.
Opening this up to the wider business; has anyone questioned whether making those particular widgets actually make a profit? Perhaps we’d better go and have a chat to Finance. They might also give us some insight into working capital or answer, ‘can we afford to make these orders from a cashflow point of view?’ Oh… and hang on a minute — is the Sales Team incentivised to sell the right stuff rather than just concentrating on the big deals?
Context and conversation are paramount to delivering productivity within your organisation. Start with this — you can then polish it up with a Communications Course.