We don’t talk enough. Not text or chat. Talk. The kind of conversation that fosters relationships and deepens understanding. The conversations that explore assumptions and remove misunderstanding.
These conversations don’t have to be long. Usually it is preferable that they aren’t. Short but engaged conversations with active listening can make a lot more progress than a long broadcast conversation or a formal meeting.
A consistent schedule of conversations enables people to pick up and build on previous discussions. Context changes so more conversations enables better currency of understanding. Making these conversations predictable enables people to prioritise urgent issues for immediate discussion and leave the other issues for a regular update.
The biggest gain in your working strategy is more conversation. You don’t need a new tool. You have plenty of phones, videoconference options or if you are lucky enough to be outside lockdown then you can chat face-to-face. A short conversation will achieve far more than an email, a survey or an expensive employee engagement project will ever address.
If you are worried that employees may not be prepared to talk, then you have a much bigger problem, We know that a lack of psychological safety directly impacts quality, effectiveness and performance of teams. It might well be that new conversations are the only way to solve that problem.
The conversations are rarely as hard as you expect. Especially, if you engage one human to another. There’s all sorts of human experiences like shared purpose, connection, compassion, empathy and forgiveness that make even the toughest conversations productive and far more valuable. If the conversation is tougher than you expect, it is often better to know now and be able to address issues, rather than leave those discussions until later.
Talk. It’s surprisingly easy. Talk. There’s no better productivity tool.