Communication is the Key to Success

By: Donnie Sanders, Donald B. Smith, Inc.

Dan Sullivan, founder and President of The Strategic Coach Inc, is a firm believer in the power of the entrepreneur. According to Sullivan, success for the entrepreneur in today’s business world is based on four simple components:

  • Showing up on time
  • Doing what you say you’re going to do
  • Finishing what you start
  • Saying “please” and “thank you”

I believe the true key to success, though, is good communication. Despite being such a basic element, the business community can struggle at times to get a handle on effective communication skills. For every executive that “gets it” with regards to effective communication, there are even more managers who don't. Numerous challenges can stand in our way. I believe there are two causes that stand out in this regard.

Apprehension as to the response or ramification of the information being presented can act as a major obstacle to success. This can lead to gaps in communication. The absence of complete and timely information is often filled with assumptions by others. Lacking substance, those involved on both ends of the process tend to rely on expectations that may be implied, but not actually communicated clearly.

Sustaining good communication can be equally as difficult as overcoming anxieties or tensions.  Measuring the success of any project is fairly clear-cut. Was it completed on time, under budget, and to the quality level that was expected?  In the design stage, these goals all appear to be attainable because of proper communication of proposals, project schedules, product submittals, and mobilization plans. As the project moves from computer to job site, maintaining the edge achieved early in the life of the project can be hard as real-time variables replace the planned certainties. At this point, communication issues can undo the careful preparation that got the project off to a good start. Initial expectations give way to frustration if necessary changes are not communicated properly.

Ultimately, trusting those involved in your projects to respond appropriately is critically important. Anticipating response to information is vital for attaining your goals and is a key characteristic of a leader. Trusting others to respond as effectively and as responsibly as you do allows communication to be your key to success in any situation.