Communication and collaboration are key to good team work
15 October 2020
At the heart of any good business and work stream is good communication and… collaboration. We need more of it, says Michelle Hoskin, managing director Standards International.
This article was first published in the October issue of Professional Paraplanner.
If we are truly on a drive to build a quality profession, it must all start with quality communication streams. In fact, I would go one step further and say that communication will only get you so far, but ‘collaboration’ will take you all the way!
I feel it is ironic that in a profession where we predominantly listen (and then talk) all day long, when it comes to our interactions with clients, when it comes to our relationships with our teams, the profession as a whole is falling way short of where it should be.
Why? Well, I think there are way too many assumptions being made. With open-plan offices, home working and full to bursting diaries, teams ‘assume’ that everyone is aware of a what is going on, when in fact the opposite is true.
Meetings, de-briefs and catch up’s all take time and are seen as simply another drain on resources, especially when most teams (including financial planners and advisers) are constantly running against the clock to get their work done and see clients.
Having spent literally thousands of hours in financial planning and advice firms, I have seen that there is not one problem that cannot be tackled by getting together, talking it through, and coming up with a solution (together!).
Believe me, I am not talking about having meetings for meetings’ sake. I for one have learned to understand the benefits of regular catch ups with my teams, direct reports and those working on key clients and business projects.
Why? Because it is good to talk. Put simply, these teams are a group of people working together on projects and tasks which help the company take one step further towards getting stuff done!
Simple? So what can be done and where do you start?
I suggest the following 11 key areas:
These pretty much cover the breadth and depth of the whole business, but feel free to add any of your own topics which may not fall into one or more of these areas.
What you have created is your whole year’s communication strategy; right there on one piece of paper!
It should look something like the sheet of paper below.
Now get planning
If you are all in agreement with what’s been written, then you need to create the year’s schedule. Planning ahead is key here.
The worst case scenario is that you start having these meetings and catch up’s, and then because you get busy, or certain people are not in that day they simply peter off to nothing. This will send a terrible message to the team as a whole, and trust and confidence will start to breakdown amongst them! This is by far the worst possible outcome and needs to be avoided at all costs!
So, map it out…
Now it’s time to have some fun! At first they may last a little longer than you’d hoped, but that will ease as you get more used to them and the agenda becomes more free-flowing. Warning (yes another!!) don’t get bogged down in the details. Detail can be discussed ‘off line’. These meetings should be high energy, fast paced, informative, engaging and productive!
If people start to lose the will to live half way through, you may have gone a little off track!
Enjoy it and stick with it! It really is good to talk, and in over 20 years I have seen firms achieve their goals, accelerate their progress and transform their business all by getting together and spending some good quality time collaborating!
For further insight into the value of great communication listen to Michelle’s podcast on this topic, which can be found under Little Miss Woww!
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