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  • Writer's pictureSteve Navarrete

What we've got here is failure to communicate.

The other day, I got the rear brakes replaced on my van. I arrived late in the day and when I got in the van, the breaks were still a bit sluggish. My mechanic left already but his assistant said to leave it and I will get a call the next day with a diagnosis. The next day, the assistant called me and told me the front brakes seemed okay but they appear old and may be causing the problem. I told him to replace them. About an hour later, his boss called me to tell me the van was ready. I got my wife to give me a lift to the mechanic again, in heavy traffic, with the kids. When we got there, the assistant was working on my van and I wasted a trip because it was not going to be ready that day. The assistant never told his boss about our call because he didn’t think his boss was going to call me to tell me the van was ready because the assistant does that. Needless to say, it was an interesting ride back home with my angry wife.

This drop in communication is seen too often in every level of management, from the bottom, all the way to the top. This is because managers don’t spend enough time developing employees’ communication skills. The most common manager response to a communication breakdown is, “don’t let it happen again!” Many managers expect their staff to come with communication skills already fit to the job but this assumption is where the problem begins. Even a monkey can fall off a tree if it’s moving too fast. Let’s take some time to develop communication skills among our employees as well as communication flow up and down the corporate ladder. Remind them to never assume someone else knows what is happening next if it wasn’t expressly communicated. Keep communication flowing.

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