“Communication Breakdown At Work”

Courtesy of Forbes


If we needed to share news, we just leaned over to the person next to us or stood up and made an announcement. When there was a major sale or a big win, a slow clap would steadily build until people were all cheering together (incidentally, a practice that survives to this day).

But as Hootsuite got bigger, growing to hundreds of people, then to nearly 1,000 employees in offices around the world, things got more complicated. What I realized is that when you reach a certain size, communication doesn’t just “happen” by itself any longer.

As CEO, I was in contact with a core group of people on a daily basis—but others I’d rarely see even in the hallway. Across the company, the same thing was happening. Departments began to get siloed. Swamped by emails and announcements, employees started to tune out. Actually connecting—even on fundamentals like yearly targets and company values—became a real challenge.

We weren’t alone, of course. Large, global companies lose an average of $62.4 million per year due to poor communication. Even smaller ones squander an estimated $5,246 each year per employee. Lack of direction from management and poor communication are cited as a primary reason people quit their jobs. Communication gaps breed uncertainty, kill productivity, lead to churn and ultimately sabotage customer service.

The fix? Well, there’s no magic bullet. But I think the solution starts with setting the right tone from the top. As a leader, if you’re truly accessible and communicative, the rest of the company learns from that example. Then, it’s a matter of being deliberate—of realizing that good communication isn’t an accident and needs to be helped along, in big and small ways.

Here are five battle-tested approaches I’ve used to open the lines of communication inside Hootsuite, in an effort to ensure everyone is kept in the loop, has a chance to connect and also has a channel for feedback.

Weekly video selfies. This sounds so simple, but it’s been a lifesaver. Each week for the past two years, I’ve recorded a quick five- to ten-minute video on my iPhone and shared it with the entire company via Facebook Workplace (a closed network just for employees). I’ll talk about big company news, relay challenges and goals and offer congratulations on team wins. It’s nothing fancy (and the production value is super low), but it allows the entire company to get aligned on top priorities and hear what’s important, straight from me. In turn, these videos get dozens, sometimes hundreds, of comments in response, as employees add information, clarify and ask questions.


Elections KE — Random thoughts

What is a rebel? A man who says no, but whose refusal does not imply a renunciation. He is also a man who says yes, from the moment he makes his first gesture of rebellion. A slave who has taken orders all his life suddenly decides that he cannot obey some new command. What does […]

via Elections KE — Random thoughts

Can you take beautiful photos without one a long lens?

A professional wildlife photographer knows to hedge her bets—planning ahead is just as important to capture the best pictures of wild animals as what you do in the moment

(This shot could only be achieved with a long lens) Wildlife on an African safari is nothing less than spectacular, but creating truly memorable images can be challenging. Animals don’t appear on command and when they do, making sure we get a great photo isn’t high on their list of priorities. A professional wildlife photographer…

via Tips for Taking Amazing African Wildlife Photos —

Why Anger And Fear could Stifle Communication

The self-protective reaction of fear keeps the other from expressing himself freely, and thus another block is added to the wall.

Fear may be the first emotional problem ever to face in the family and it may even afflict more people than the second; but it is not the family’s number one enemy. That dishonour is reserved for anger, which sometimes takes the form of hostility and wrath. More wives have been battered, children abused and […]

via Anger And Fear… Stifle Communication — When I’ m With You… Whitney Ibe Blog!

Importance of political tolerance

Political tolerance is the willingness to extend basic rights and civil liberties to persons and groups whose viewpoints differ from one’s own. It is a central tenet of a liberal democracy. The individual rights and freedoms that Kenyan citizens value encourage a wide array of ideas and beliefs, some of which may offend segments of the population. The expression of those beliefs is protected by another core democratic principle, that of majority rule with respect for the rights of individuals or groups in the minority. Without safeguards for the free expression of divergent opinions, we risk a tyranny of the majority. In a free and open society, public deliberation exposes “bad” ideas instead of suppressing them.


Lester Nafwa

Communication Consultant

Why Refugee Stories Need to Be Understood as War Stories’ — Longreads

Pulitzer Prize winner Viet Thanh Nguyen on understanding why refugees have come to the U.S.

I mean, obviously we’re successful and we’re successful partially because of the opportunities that America has offered. But, again, it’s only possible because of a war that the United States waged in Vietnam. And there are so many Asian immigrants and refugees who have come from countries like the Philippines, Korea, Laos, Cambodia who are here in the United States because of wars that the U.S. waged overseas. And the difficulty for Americans and for these refugees and immigrants is to think about both of these kinds of things at the same time – economic opportunity domestically in the United States for some Asian immigrants and refugees, not all of them – that are made possible because of foreign wars that the United States have waged abroad.

And the way that I think about it is that I have to insist all the time that I am not an immigrant and that I – the story that I’m telling in my novel is not an immigrant story. I’m a refugee and the story I’m telling is a war story because one of the ways that the United States tries to contain the meaning of these histories is to think that all of these Asians are here because they’re immigrants, and that their story begins once they get to the United States. But again, my understanding is that many of these Asians are here because of the consequences of wars. And many immigrant stories and refugee stories need to be understood as war stories.

via ‘Many Immigrant Stories and Refugee Stories Need to Be Understood as War Stories’ — Longreads


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