Nothing is ever truly communicated until it’s fully understood
Have you ever struggled explaining something you are passionate about to other people and even after you enthusiastically explain it you get nothing but a glazed eye stare back? Frustrating, isn’t it? The problem of people not understanding you is pervasive – especially in business. A big percentage of issues are because we listen to respond and rarely listen to understand. The by far more important problem is that the people do not where they have skin in the game. There is no connection with what they do, who they are, and where they are going. With no value seen by your audience you can be as passionate as you can be, and yet, at the end there will be no tangible action following your presentation. Bottom line is that as long as you do not convey information in a way that your audience feels like will provide value, you are wasting your time.
So what can you do? About two years back I was invited on a radio show to tell the audience about my company’s management and sales philosophy. We have been very successful and our employees as well as close business partners totally see the value in collaborative management also known as triple bottom line management. I was so enthusiastic about it and yet….. it totally tanked. Here is the interesting result of the interview on Kristin Tews’ Personal Best show, (click here for the interview starting at minute 40 of the podcast, it’s the one dated 10/13/2013). I failed the same way in a “Unconference” at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business school where I led a mini workshop on the Triple Bottom Line company management style. One of the attending professors called what I presented to them “Utopian” and an utter theoretical exercise. Ahh! Well, welcome to Utopia I thought to myself as I knew that not only was it possible to lead a business this way, but we had been tremendously successful. Where had I failed. I pondered this for a good old while and finally sunk in to me that I had totally failed hitting business leaders where they would start paying attention. I failed to connect what kind of cost such an initiative would incur and what measurable benefit would come out of it.
As of late I learned my lesson and I learned it well. Now I dedicate time and slide space to how collaboration leads to a greater team member engagement and how that is measured on the SINGLE bottom line. Yes, the loosy-goosy employee engagement can be measured in form of revenue per employee, EBITA per employee, count of non-conformities, number of corrective actions, etc. Now I have the attention of the key business leaders and I can finally go over explaining the details of how to implement collaborative triple bottom line management.
Bottom line (no pun intended) is that if you want to impact your audience (your listeners) such that action follows and they at least understand what you want to communicate then you had better understand what their key motivators are. Only when you speak to how your audience will be impacted with what your are speaking about will they take action.