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Military organizations use some of the following techniques for building high-performance teams:

Hold formal briefings prior to executing a plan. Formal briefs that follow a standard structure provide an opportunity to exchange information in a disciplined manner to the entire team through a single face-to-face channel. Since research demonstrates that as much as 80% of communication is non-verbal, briefings provide the best means of communication. When you get ready to execute, forget technology and take a few minutes to get face-to-face!

Hold Execution Gap (X-Gap)℠ Meetings. Get the team together on a regular basis for 15-30 minutes and address the status of each of the action items in your plan. For things that are falling behind get a succinct explanation of why and address those issues immediately by assigning additional resources and taking new actions. Have those X-Gap meetings face-to face if possible. Otherwise, use online meeting applications so that the team members have as much natural human interaction as possible. Conducting such meetings over a conference call is the least desirable means because attendees can tune out and attempt to multi-task during the call. Multi-tasking and other distractions are the bane of effective communication.

Utilize communication brevity. Military-style communications are short and sweet, especially during dangerous and complex operations. Get to the point. Unless you are providing a detailed report that can be studied when recipients have the time to do so, stick to the facts and clearly outline actions that need to be taken. How many emails do you have in your inbox that you will probably never read because of the time it will take to read them?

Identify purposeful communication channels. How will you communicate emergent or critical information and provoke timely action? Use the quickest and most reliable channels for the most important communication tasks. For most organizations, e-mail is not one of those channels unless the red exclamation mark you can click with your mouse really means it’s an important message and recipients know they need to pay immediate attention to it. There are limitless ways to identify various levels of importance for messages. Use them and nurture a culture where such identifiers are respected and not abused.

These simple techniques can help teams and organizations improve overall communication by getting people face-to-face, reducing the number of connections and channels, and adhering to communication protocols with discipline. The goal is not to increase the amount of team communication, but to reduce the chatter and to better organize your available communication channels. Contact us to learn more about our team building seminars to improve your team communication.


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