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Friday, December 10, 2010

Lean Quote: Leaders Communicate

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate." — Joseph Priestley

Every form of multimedia is at our doorstep and they are all fighting for our attention.  We are inundated by ellectronic media like email, text, notifications, and others.  More than ever, we cannot live and prosper without information.  Not in business, not in our private lives.

Reliable, fast, and complete information has never been as important for success as it is today.  Yet, there is a new headache to deal with: excess information by email or cell phone.  The leader must now be more selective, and restrict the exchange of information to what is important.  We can't allow the loss of precious time reading and forwarding unecessary messages.  Everyone needs information to work as a team striving to achieve common goals and to share responsibilities.

A breakdown in communication can result in:
  • Rumor mills due to unreliable information
  • Wrong information due to interpretation, distraction, and incomplete information
  • Conflicting priorities among peers and departments

There must be an open exchange of ideas among peers and between managers and their reports.  In this process all people must be treated as equals and fresh ideas encouraged, whoever they come from.  Information must reach all levels and involve everyone to achieve common goals.

Among all forms of communication, nothing equals a face-to-face exchange.  There is no substitute for body language; the tone, facial expressions, and gestures that accompany language cannot be expressed in writing or even over the phone.

It is important to stress that even the best of all new technology must remain subordinated to the needs of the business.
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1 comment:

  1. Bravo, Tim! I find myself sometimes going to see people face to face for exactly the reasons you mention above, and there are times when as a lean coach people have told me that it's "not lean." What's not lean is ineffective communication that leads to waste down the road.

    It's good to see affirmation of this notion on your part.