Conflict Isn’t a Currency: How Productive Communication Creates Winning Companies

Can one thing make your business successful? Yes, and it’s probably not what you think.

Beyond patents and profits, innovation and ingenuity, or even leverage and leadership, productive communication is the greatest determiner of success — and among the most challenging aspect of business to get right. However, creating a culture of accountable workplace communication not only will engender authentic employee engagement, it also will fuel the bottom-line success of your organization.

Organizations that work with Productive Learning to help bolster the emotional intelligence of their teams — the foundation of productive communication — report smoother relationships among employees, fewer unresolved conflicts between individuals and greater accountability.

The benefits aren’t only internal either. Customers reap the rewards, too, as evidenced in better customer service. This effect is so pervasive that I recommend that any organization seeking to improve its customer experience first look internal and invest in building workplace communication excellence. You could see a payoff beyond customer loyalty as well; according to business consulting firm Bain & Co., companies that excel at customer experience grow revenues 4-8 percent above the market.

Don’t Play the Blame Game

No organization sets out to sow chaos or reward conflict, yet poor communication hampers almost all organizations to a degree, especially those operating in face-paced, high-growth environments. In its most-recent PMBOK Guide, the Project Management Institute reports that a whopping 95 percent of workers experience conflict with other teams, up from 81 percent in 2014.

The first step to turning around conflicts and creating productive communication is to recognize how it fails to occur. In our work with hundreds of organizations, we have identified three warning signs of ineffective workplace communication. How many do you recognize in your own organization?

The Parent Trap. Some organizations pride themselves on creating family-like work environments. But no leader wants to feel like a parent refereeing conflicts between two direct reports, let alone midlevel managers who could resolve conflict themselves.

Everything Is Fine. Does conflict exist if no one talks about it? Yes, and this avoidance of tackling issues can become toxic and detrimental to productivity. A situation I coached between two executives preparing for a major industry conference comes to mind. One executive was supposed to helm the development of the presentation while the other was to deliver it because she owned customer relationships. Yet neither trusted one another. As a result, collaboration didn’t occur. Instead of one cohesive presentation, both executives took the lead in developing their own content, only to further divide these colleagues and deride the value of the presentation.

The Blame Game. Nimble, accurate project management requires consistent communication and clearly set expectations. Although delays and departures from original strategic road maps should be expected and managed, teams that don’t trust one another devolve into blaming one another for a lack of execution. Ambiguity in communication is a productivity killer.

Simply put: Employees want to work for organizations where their voice is heard, and customers trust companies that communicate with clarity. This isn’t an ideal we simply recommend to our clients; it’s a standard on which we’ve built own our company as well.

As our name suggests, we are zealous about cultivating a culture of productive learning within our own organization. From front-office receptionists to trainers to executives, all members of the Productive Learning team are invited to embrace our mission. We believe this creates an organization moving seamlessly in one direction because every employee knows the value of reciprocity — or the value of giving to get — and self-propulsion. Our team knows they can create their future here.

What would happen to your organization if your entire culture was motivated to excel through productive learning? It can happen! If you want to create a culture of productive learning, contact us for a free evaluation of your communication performance.

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