Joe needed to increase gross margin. He had stated it simply. “Look, guys. We need to increase gross margin right now. It’s been declining so we need to get it back to where it was last year.”
That was four months ago. The whole team had sprung into action. Estimating overestimated. Operations refocused on high-margin work. Billing jammed all the most profitable work into the final month of the quarter.
Perhaps they should have discussed it a bit more. Estimates had been uncompetitive and took a bite out of sales. Operations had dropped the ball on an important high-volume client. Billing in Q2 had been like a sugar high. Joe’s team had executed on three separate, conflicting strategies and yet they’d been one conversation away from success. Oops. Poor Joe.
You might be surprised at how many teams are like Joe’s. Bad communication is almost always at the root of failure and poor performance. An executive team that doesn’t communicate will smash its chances for success and raise stress levels and lower bonuses all around.
- It is essential that executive team members set expectations with each other, with detail and specificity on everything including dates, times, methods of delivery — and clearly establish who owns accountabilities.
- High-performance team members need great communication skills to develop shared strategies and action plans. Each member needs to understand the behavior styles of all other members to “get what is happening” when the team is handling its most vexing problems and richest opportunities.
- Each member must be aware of their own communication strengths and weaknesses (and acknowledge them) in order to maximize their own contribution.
At today’s rate of change, with business challenges morphing as executive teams work, anything less than excellence in communication is unacceptable and unaffordable.
If your team is still struggling with communication problems, contact me. Let’s harness the power of leadership team coaching to cut the fog of bad communication and get your team aligned on a winning strategy before another quarter is gone.