Knowledge Exchange is a weekly series of educational articles that we encourage you to share and discuss with your colleagues and network. This month, we’re offering advice for making the most of limited human capital.
As children, most of us played the game of telephone on more than one occasion. It was always amusing to learn how a benign sentence could turn into something ludicrous after being whispered down a line of people.
When it’s on purpose, playing telephone is fun. But when it happens accidentally in your business — as a result of siloed processes, bad habits or inconsistent workflows — it’s worrisome. Your team could be acting on incomplete or inaccurate information, creating internal and external misunderstandings. This is especially true if you’re working with a lean team.
Even if you’re aware that your communication isn’t as effective as it could be, you may not know where to begin to correct it. You might wonder:
➡️ How can I make our day-to-day communication easier and less time-consuming?
➡️ How do I provide easy ways for different teams to communicate with each other?
➡️ How should we adjust communication protocol to account for limited resources?
We’ll answer these questions by sharing three powerful strategies.
Simplify and get into problem-solving mode by aligning with the following core principles.
We’d recommend replacing manual work in many areas of business, but it’s particularly powerful to apply automation to communication. When information transfer is taken care of for you, there’s less risk of losing important details. In a client-based business, there are plenty of moments when internal communication is predictable — thus, ripe for automation.
You may choose to automate:
Take away the need to pause client work and chat about every minor development, and you open up the door for increased efficiency.
A lack of consistency is one reason communication becomes inefficient over time. It’s a problem if everyone is using a different medium for sending messages and sharing information or meeting reactively rather than proactively, for example.
Build more effective workflows with a communication cadence. This might look like mandatory, regular check-ins — as meetings or group messages. (Be sure to keep these short.) Or, you could ensure you’re making the most of Accelo’s Activity Stream by setting up email capture for every user and offering adequate training on the platform to help your team establish sound habits.
Remote or hybrid? Use dynamic team scheduling to rearrange tasks automatically and allow time for regular team check-ins.
Unmanaged resources can lead to crossed communication and delays. If you’re unsure of how much time your team can afford to spend on non-billable internal communication, it will be tough to adapt that chunk of time when you’re under-resourced.
The solution is to track all of your team’s activity in one central place. That way, you can determine the need to cut back or expand upon communication touchpoints to support the volume of work you currently have. Reallocating resources should be a regular corrective practice, but it’s a particularly helpful strategy when you suspect your team is struggling to speak to one another effectively.
Encourage your employees to start tracking time in Accelo, or get more consistent about it, so you can generate accurate data about how much time they spend communicating.
You’ve likely learned at some point in your life that the simple changes you make right now can have a radical cumulative effect down the line — if you keep them up. Business communication follows the same pattern. Rarely can we put revolutionary solutions into effect overnight. Incremental and consistent change is the key.
Avoiding the game of telephone requires applying ongoing attention to the quality of your team’s communication.
Start by diving into the three strategies above, and be sure to consider how you could expand your use of Accelo to support these changes.
Think your colleagues would find this article valuable? Head over to LinkedIn to share and discuss how you’re responding to resource limitations.