Aug 2013

Substandard employee, department & organizational performance is often directly related to poor communication, but blamed on other superficial symptoms. Removing these barriers relies on trust, brutal yet empathic honesty, and achieving joint objectives.

This is where you are, but… THIS is where you WANT to be…
  • Team members communicate poorly.
  1. Conflict is reduced between people.
  2. Morale is higher and more consistently positive.
  3. Conflict is actually used to make the teams stronger.
  4. Teams use conflict to articulate their positions for greater bottom-line results.
  • Problem diagnosis, problem solving and decision making are meager (or worse).
  1. Alternative solutions to problems may be found.
  2. Individual and organizational problem solving and decision making skills will be significantly improved.
  • Employees express frustration that they aren’t being heard or taken seriously; even clients have complained.
  1. Improved communication results in less “failure” work, increased customer service, and more positive interactions.
  2. Employee and customer retention rates are improved.
  3. Greater market share is achieved.
  • Few, if any, creative ideas are being generated.
  1. People move to take action.
  2. Consistent innovation is the norm.
  3. Creativity is sparked because people from all levels are contributing their best efforts and working as a team.
  • The rumor mill and misperceptions are impeding all business functions.
  1. Individuals and departments stop having turf battles.
  2. All work is focused toward organizational objectives.
  3. People learn how to articulate and clarify their positions, so that individual and group performance benefits.
  • Meetings, evaluations and team building scenarios are short-lived or have become nightmares.
  1. People grasp the issues, become aligned around a common purpose, and create new directions with full understanding of the dangers and opportunities.
  2. Broad participation quickly identifies performance gaps and their solutions, improving communication and productivity.
  3. Momentum is consistent toward individual and organizational goals.


You have compiled the brightest, most skilled team in your industry, but barriers in communication are making even the best and the brightest stumble; your organization is falling short of its goals. So, what can you do to battle with the elusive and invisible barriers to effective business communication? What do you need to do so your teams can achieve, so your organization can thrive?

Kelly Graves The Corporate Therapist can help you recognize, name, remove, and replace those barriers to effective business communication. With my extensive background in the business world, my command of organizational psychology, years of hands-on and in-depth formal education, I have the skills and knowledge to recognize and deal effectively with even the most unpleasant barriers to effective business communication. In the short term focus on these points:

1. For people, departments and organizations to flourish there must be two major components in place: the first is TRUST. If I trust you and you trust me then we can talk about the uncomfortable topics that surround every partnership and business. I must know that I will feel safe and that my dignity will be respected. If I don’t feel this, then I will nod, smile that fake smile, keep  my mouth shut and my head down. When problems arise I will shrug my shoulders outwardly, but in my head I will justify my tactics as survival in this untrusting environment.

2. The second major component to a successful business is what I call brutal yet empathic honesty. Brutal in that one cannot hold back; empathic means you can usually say things from a caring and respectful position and yet still be honest. One sacrifices the short term comfortableness in exchange for the long term growth and development required to evolve a professional relationship, department and/or business.

3. The third major component in this abbreviated model is joint objectives. People perform their best when the objective is clear i.e., a touchdown, crossing a finish-line, making a basket, closing the deal or hitting the quota. In each of these examples, multiple people are involved in front of and behind the scenes. And yet in every single case, when the winning objective is met, all anger, frustration and petty remarks are forgotten due to the team, department or organizational success. People in the stands cheer, players who had a tiff just moments earlier high-five and sales and production people smile at each other and shake hands IF the project is debriefed properly. For this to happen, objectives must be clear enough so that anyone in the organization knows what it is and where the organization is at in its achievement of the goal. This moves employees into being a part of the game rather than observers of the game. This INVOLVEMENT helps to inspire INTRINSIC  motivation and helps people overcome the pettiness that accompanies stressful events or environments.

These steps and actions ARE NOT EASY, but they are very achievable and the results are magic in their ability to disarm, reconnect people and transform people, partnerships, departments and organizations. Imagine the relief your team and you will experience once the barriers are taken down! Once communication is on track again and your team is moving toward common goals, the successes won’t stop there (nor will the work). I know that remission of bad communication habits is human nature; it is the natural tendency for people to return to familiar communication patterns (even if the familiar means dysfunctional). These phases are a natural part of the process of creating any improved communication systems. Be aware: improving communication is a process that takes time. But, when it’s done right, it’s self-perpetuating. (If quick fixes could have solved your organization’s communication problems, well, you might not be reading this now.) Maintenance requires that, once skills are learned, employees and leadership staff must practice and use these more effective communication behaviors and skills. Those who practice and use these skills must also be recognized and rewarded in a timely manner. Throughout all the steps and phases, I will guide you to build a learning environment where your team members teach and support one another, day in and day out. This is how your investment with me will continue to keep your organization on track long after I am gone.

You have my commitment that I will help to support, to coach, and teach your team to collaborate. Simply put: Your success is my success. I will work with you to make sure the habits of effective business communication remain an integral part of your organization’s culture and success for the long term. Replace the ineffective practices you’ve lived with for too long with successful business communication systems that get results and promote innovation and an improved work environment!