My pick is communication.
With a strong foundation of communication, many other success factors become easier. We often see that may be conveyed without being fully understood. And if your recipients aren’t getting the message, they are not going to be able to take steps toward the changes required by an exciting new challenge.
So, what does effective communication look like?
Messages that are successfully communicated must be both delivered AND received. This seems obvious, but it’s a common point of failure, especially when a challenge is being tackled in an innovative way. People may be at varying levels of readiness for the unknowns and perceived risks of innovation. They might not be as receptive to the details of a message because they are distracted by the fact that they won’t yet have expertise.
To improve the success of delivery, acknowledge the challenges inherent in the message.
For example, when asking someone to do something that’s out of their comfort zone, share the big picture. Be careful not just to share the goal; communicate the motivation, purpose, and (at least some of the) path, as well. This makes the unknown more tangible, which makes it more likely that someone will find a way to relate to the request and be more comfortable acting.
We observed this with one of our clients. They found it easier to unify staff around a Sepsis prevention effort than around improving patient satisfaction scores.
The message about Sepsis was clear: Sepsis is life-threatening. We can save lives through our actions.
The message about improving patient satisfaction scores needs more support to be relevant on a day-to-day basis.
Communication is easier with a shared vision. By helping everyone involved understand how solving a given challenge can benefit the organization, it becomes easier to take the time necessary to really deliver and receive a message.
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