Friday, March 18, 2011

3D Juggling 520: Communicating Effectively

Jane writes: Towards the end of the 1967 movie Cool Hand Luke, Luke says “What we've got here is failure to communicate”.  Then he gets shot. What he said may have been true, but it didn’t achieve the best of outcomes.

Communicating effectively is core to our success at work, at home, in our communities.  It’s particularly important when we need to be agile during times of change.  It doesn’t mean always saying what we feel or think when we’re feeling or thinking it and leaving the other person to deal with the fallout, and it doesn’t mean holding onto stuff until we explode over everyone.  Maybe something that John Galliano should have understood.  France, as Galliano is in the process of finding out, is a secular society with a zero tolerance policy to incitement of religious hatred, with culprits facing up to six months in jail. 

Effective communication does mean treating others with respect, exchanging some meaning (so listening and checking things out is important), and creating some value.  It allows for different views and beliefs, recognising that where these are different it is possible to acknowledge this and respect the other person’s position - allowing us to carry on our conversation.

We like  the advice given in Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success in Work and in Life, One Conversation at a Time by Susan Scott, and Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Bruce Patton, Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen.

The phrase ‘what we've got here is failure to communicate’ is often used to allocate blame when it has not been possible to reach agreement about something, especially when we view the other person as a powerful opponent.  What difference could it make if we viewed them as someone with a different view or agenda to ours rather than an opponent, and acknowledged this as a starting point for a new conversation?

© 2011 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely. Please retain contact details: and send a copy/ link to

No comments: