When a mountaineer goes up for the mountain’s peak, when a pilot soar high in the sky with his plane and when a treasure hunter goes for the hidden treasure with his map, there are two things they all need to have- a compass and a watch. They are but small, simple gadgets yet their importance cannot be denied. Like a compass, communication gives direction to the players in the organization.
As a watch, communication defines the perfect timing of every course of action. Having the best players in a team, the best facilities and enough resources cannot give an organization the assurance of its success. This is simply because, as Keith Denton said, 1“More often, what is required is the simplest need of all-communication.” What brings all the elements of an organization or a team together is communication.
Consider a basketball team who is behind by two points in the last few seconds of the game. If the team has a time-out to utilize, shall the coach call for a time-out or just leave the chance to the players? If not, who will be responsible? It could not be just anyone. Effective communication plays an urgent and essential role in this situation. First, in identifying what the problem is. Communicating factual and accurate information on the nature of the problem is the first step in solving a problem. In the business set-up, the earlier the problem is identified, the more time is provided to the team or the organization to solve it.
Consider a manufacturing company which is experiencing a significant decline in its production rate for the past three months. Shift production supervisor A accounts the problem to the old machines they are using. Supervisor B blames it to the shift on the standards of the Quality Control department. Supervisor C thinks the problem is due to the newly imported raw materials from a new supplier. Suppose the production head asked only supervisor A and then agreed to address the problem immediately to the management. So the management decided to buy new production machines in order to cope up with its production. Supervisors B and C did not coordinate their evaluations on the problem because they were not asked.
After few months, production increased only by few percentage. Re-evaluation revealed that the problem is due to the newly imported raw materials and not on the old machines. This is just one of the many tragic results of lack of effective communication. If only the production head was able to ask the other supervisors, or the supervisors coordinated their evaluations to the production head, even if they were not asked, then their evaluations could have been considered in the management’s decision in solving the problem. The cost of the new production machines could have been saved and the raw materials supplier could have been immediately reprimanded and replaced. Sad to say, time and effort lost in this situation can no more be saved; they are permanently lost.
Communication is a basic requirement in all aspects of the organization. 2“The absence of good planning and sound communications also causes projects to fail.” (G. Silver) In fact, communication is a vital tool in the planning stage of a project. In identifying the what, where, when, why, who and how of a plan, information has to flow through communication lines in order to be utilized by planners and decision makers. In delegation, controlling and directing functions of the management, communication is a basic tool. This is the reason why leaders have to be good communicators. In problem solving and decision making, one has to learn how to make him understood by others and learn also to understand others. This can only be made possible by developing effective communication skills and process.
3 A case study done at General Electric Company and Cypress Semiconductor Corp. revealed that 88% of its engineers believed that “lack of communication and cooperation leads to reduced productivity.” Further evaluation of this result will give us the fact that this is because planners and decision makers rely on available, coordinated information in formulating their business activities. If all needed information are properly communicated to the concerned individuals, then problem solving and decision making will most probably have favorable results. Considering the vitality of effective communication in an organization which is working as a team, it is but fair to conclude that communication can make or break an organization.
Denton, D. Keith. Business Horizons. September-October 1993. Retrieved from http://www.howtobooks.co.uk/business/networking. retrieved on September 07, 2006
Silver, Gerald and Myrra. Systems Analysis and Design. Chapter 06. page 22. Addison-Wesley Publishing Co. Mass. USA. 1992
P and Q Survey 1990. Effective Business Communications. Retrieved from http://www.howtobooks.co.uk/business/networking Retrieved on September 07, 2006