Is Your Communication Open or Closed?

Article excerpt

Here is a little organizational tip with a big potential payback - get your company into the habit of properly closing communication loops.

Communication problems are the No. 1-rated organizational problem across the nation. When we analyze corporations for their initial "as-is" status prior to improvement planning, we always find "communication problems" listed as a major issue.

Communication improvements come in two varieties: easy and difficult. The good news is that the easy improvements can be done without the aid of professional business consultants, if one knows what they are and how to make the improvement.

The best way to proceed is to understand that all communication is either left "open" or is "closed." Open communication is, unfortunately, the most common. It is characterized by someone communicating something in the form of a directive, solicitation or need without requesting or receiving return information from the other party concerning the timely status of the matter at hand.

When the status of the matter communicated is not returned correctly, the "loop" is said to be left open.

On the other hand, closed loop communication is a situation where return information is proffered in a timely and correct manner.

The error of not closing information loops results in various kinds of loss and expense - projects become confounded and people who are in the chain of responsibility feel "left out" and "set up" for the failures that occur.

Over time, such communication problems erode trust and a vicious cycle of worsening communication and trust devolve into widespread organizational pathologies. …