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A Little Less Conversation – Brilliant!

January 31, 2010

I was very pleased to read an article by Joel Spolsky in a recent edition of Inc. magazine (which I love).  You can find the Inc. bio page on Joel here: (Joel’s bio on Inc.com).  The article was named “A Little Less Conversation”.  It covered a wonderful topic on communication, and more importantly to me, a management approach that I feel very strongly about.  However, Joel explained the concept ridiculously better than I ever have.

Now I need to preface this with the statement that I feel that “Communication” is incredibly undervalued as a skill and an art – both in business, but also in life in general.  I frequently tell people that I work with “you can’t over communicate with me”.  I feel that a constant flow of information is one of the reasons for success in relationships and business – for all the reasons you might expect – ability to make more informed decisions, relate to the people in your life better, learn from others opinions and strengths (or weaknesses), the list goes on and on.

However, the main point of this article (for me) was that “Many managers worry that they don’t communicate enough.  But at most growing companies, the problem is that people communicate too much.”  Fortunately for me, he included two beautiful diagrams that perfectly illustrate the problem when too many people try to over communicate – instead of channeling communication – which is where I’ve always tried to position myself.  See below:

 
He goes on to discuss how many times we add people to meetings, email chains, etc, simply because you didn’t want anyone to feel left out.  Obviously this has nothing to do with effective communication – and communication costs a company real dollars – and it adds up fast.  Joel sates that “as companies expand, the people within them start to specialize.  At such a point, some managers will conclude that they have a ‘keep everyone on the same page’ problem.  But often what they actually have is a ‘stop people from meddling when there are already enough smart people working on something’ problem.”
 
 
Amazingly well put.  Without taking it to this level of understanding and presentation, I’ve always tried hard to be the central conduit for communication – with my peers, people I manage, and those I’ve worked for.  For me it was a combination of adding efficiency to the process, while also trying to gain as much extra knowledge so that I could do my job better.  In most cases it was tremendously successful and helpful – but occasionally I was accused of “micro managing”.  But you can imagine why certain people would have this perception – right or wrong.
 
 
I encourage others to read this article – it is found on the page link I posted above (or here for the article).  I would also love to hear other people’s comments and opinion on this.  Thanks!
Scott
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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 8, 2011 1:36 pm

    This is the right blog for anyone who wants to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!

  2. April 14, 2011 5:06 pm

    Kazim – Thank you very much for your kind comment! Thanks for stopping by.

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