Recently I took my car to get the oil changed at a new service station in town. As I pulled in to the “stay-in-your-car” bay and the technicians began working under the car the back-and-forth dialogue between the employees piqued my interest.
I noticed that not only was the team communicating about every line of the oil change checklist, but they all consistently responded with the same audible response. After each task was announced, the phrase “heard that!” echoed through the station. It didn’t matter whether the task was moving an oil filter from the shelf to the floor, directing a new car into an empty bay, or requesting a different size wrench, every employee joined in the cacophony of “heard that!” as they continued working on their individual tasks.
While I sat in my car listening to the ongoing chatter, which must quickly become mundane for the technicians, but was fascinating to me, an outsider, my mind wandered to the various teams I have been on over the years. One of the most crucial aspects of any team is the level of communication that the team members work to achieve. I have been on teams that had very little group communication, and others where there was an unprecedented level of inside language and cultural jargon. But no team that I have been a part of focused enough on what these oil change technicians did exceedingly well: Communication Confirmation.
We often see our responsibility when it comes to communication as crafting and sending our message in the clearest way possible, but what would happen if we modeled for others the value of confirming when a message is received? This is a vital part of the coaching process as we offer a version of “heard that” when listening to a coachee by either repeating or rephrasing their statements to make sure that what we heard is what they intended to communicate. Whether you see yourself as a coach with your team or not, the value of confirming that other’s messages have been received, and received accurately, cannot be overstated.
What would it mean for your team if you practiced this “heard that” mindset?
How would it impact you if others on your team took the time to confirm what they heard you say?
What can you do this week to move the needle on team or organizational communication to minimize miscommunication and maximize the cohesion that comes from accurate communication?
"The LSI Letter" is written by Dr. Jim Smith and the Coaching Team at Leadership Systems, Inc.