Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Secrets of successful collaboration: 16. focus on intensive and purposeful communication

Collaborations that value relationship development between individuals will encourage intensive and purposeful communication.

Intensive and purposeful communication is person and outcome focused. It seeks to complete communication loops between individuals; people are expected to ensure that information, questions and requests are not only sent and received but also understood and acted upon.

Within collaborations that encourage intensive and purposeful communication, the phrase "I sent an email" is frowned upon and challenged when given in response to requests for updates about information sent and requests made. This is because the phrase indicates an incomplete communication loop: it strongly suggests the sender has not verified that the receiver has seen or even received the communication and, if it has been seen, there will be a timely and appropriate response. To ensure the communication loop is completed, the sender will be expected to show he/she has made meaningful contact with the receiver: that he/she has had an email, telephone or face-to-face conversation with the receiver to confirm the communication was received and ascertain the likely response.

Intensive and purposeful communication's emphasis upon making personal contact also encourages sharing rather than merely passing information. This sharing is of two types: 
  1. Sharing of not only information but also thoughts, opinions, perceptions and observations about information. This sharing enables a mutual understanding of the significance of information and the context from within which it originates and forms a part. It also encourages partners to discuss and agree how information may be best handled and used.
  2. Sharing of time. The sharing of time, however fleeting, supports the development of trusting and respectful relationships. This is because a person's time is recognised as valuable and, therefore, the sharing of it with others is highly appreciated. Those being given someone's time receive a strong message that they and their contributions are recognised and valued.
Clearly, intensive and purposeful communication takes time. Collaborations that realise their success is dependent upon the development of trusting and respectful relationships (both internal and external) will gladly encourage this time to be taken.

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