As managers and project team leaders we reside over complex tasks and scenarios that need a considerable amount of thought, planning and ultimately, effective delivery. Despite all of this effort however, sometimes; somewhere; somehow; something goes wrong. And when it does, you need to get it fixed. But that is just the beginning, as you also (arguably more importantly) need to explore how to avoid a recurrence. Or indeed, many recurrences – hence why arguably more important.
So following on from the ‘incident’, you then investigate more thoroughly what went wrong so that it doesn’t happen again. Surprisingly, a huge percentage of the time when mishaps do occur they are caused, quite simply, due to poor communication, misdirected communication, or worse still, no communication at all. If you think about any failures in task delivery you have been involved with, I bet that the majority of time communication has been at the heart of what went wrong. Either that, or, at the very least, better or faster communication could have prevented or reduced the impact on those affected.
As a leader you should encourage (not strong enough Neil – this stuff is important. OK change ‘encourage‘ to ‘insist‘) your team to communicate everything they come across that could impact, not only upon their own responsibilities, but those around them and the project goals overall. And when they do come across things you need to be receptive to them telling you about it, as opposed to you creating an environment whereby they are apprehensive about doing so. Getting the communication right, at every level, means that life becomes so much simpler, as many avoidable mishaps are dealt with before they actually become a ‘mishap’ in the first place.
I once had someone in my own business saying to me; “Neil, all of this communication is wasted energy. Nothing bad ever happens!” “And why the blazes do you think that is?” was my response.