15 Mar PULL ON THE STRINGS
I bet that any problem you are currently struggling with has a communications challenge within it. And in some cases, solving the communications problem, or reframing the conversation, can actually solve whatever is wrong.
Last winter I was in snowy Calgary to work with a group of company owners, entrepreneurs most of them, small to large businesses, all of them affected by the oil and gas slump that has hit Alberta hard. Against that harsh economic climate some of them were looking to improve efficiencies (talk to employees), fight for a larger part of the shrinking pie (talk to customers and potential customers), some were interested in narrowing or changing their offerings (talk to the market), recruit new hires (talk to candidates and employees), train new staff in the company’s story and culture (talk, talk, talk) and some were struggling with their trade association’s “old school” approach to marketing and sales (talk to the trade and the association). Although I’ve written “talk to” in all those instances, listening is just as important.
It was very interesting to see how clearly all the workshop participants articulated how improved communications might provide a key to unravelling what are tough situations in a province where everything is somehow affected by oil and gas. In the course of discussion, we worked very quickly to isolate the communications challenges and opportunities. Several of the participants were expecting to be able to reframe the conversation in the next few days!
What impressed me the most in this group was the level of self-knowledge which made it relatively easy and efficient to brainstorm new approaches. I wish every group I worked with came so well prepared!
So before you fall into a pit of despair because times are tough or the situation seems hopeless, first tease out the conversation: who do I have to talk to to make that first step in the right direction? What is their pain point that you can address for them? How can you show that your approach is relevant and helpful to both of you and not just YOU?