Conversation and Leadership
I’ll just touch one important aspect of conversation and leadership i.e. outcomes-based conversation or goals-based communication. Another term used is – Intentionality in leadership. Needless to emphasize, leadership today is about setting shared goals, even shared vision. And then, to make them happen, while engaging everyone concerned through communication. Is there something called over-communication…other than nagging?
Today, the goal of workplace conversation is to mimic friendly conversation, while directing it to an agenda—and a leader cannot forget the goal. It cannot be talk just for the sake of talking. Some illustrations: the goal may be to ensure that all the employees understand the company’s competitive strategy, or ask every employee to help shape that strategy. Today, the leader is expected to use conversation to achieve that goal.
As Michael Slind says. “You still have responsibility for setting the tone and setting the direction. And that’s what intentionality is about. As you’re planning a conversation, you need to make sure that it’s in alignment with your company’s strategic goals. And if it’s done well, the power of communication can support those goals.”
That is the fine balance that leaders can achieve by good communication planning.
In their book –
Talk, Inc.: How Trusted Leaders Use Conversation to Power their Organizations
Groysberg and Slind list 4 Is- intimacy, interactivity, inclusion, and intentionality. The authors note that establishing a culture of conversation won’t always mean hitting each of the four “I’s,” but they stress that these elements “tend to reinforce each other” to create a process in which good ideas have a chance to be heard and to be developed. To be put to use in developing strategy; in executing strategy, in communicating strategy and derived goals.
I agree with Groysberg who says, “A productive conversation is a source of sustainable competitive advantage,” .
“We find that if you can have good conversations in a company, you can actually achieve a lot.”
More on this aspect in future posts…