Speaking the Same [Business] Language
What happens when training and education aren't offered? Are you speaking the same language as your stakeholders?
Get Up to Speed or Get Out!!
Tech innovation makes our personal and professional worlds easier and more complex at the same time. In the workplace, there's certainly no debate that the words we choose and the way we say things can easily be misconstrued without constant communication and education from leadership. Language and definitions in any industry are constantly progressing, and if employees don't have a finger on the pulse of the shifting of terminology and philosophies than they don't have a clear understanding about the state of the marketplace. The end result: confusion and miscommunication, in other words, a BIG HEADACHE.
I'm going to use an example 99.9% of us can relate to, given that at some point in our lives, we've all watched "TV". To illustrate my point, note I put the acronym for television in quotes. Had I been standing in front of you, I might have used air quotes. So, here's the TV example:
What is the first association you have, when I ask - What does watching TV mean to you? Do you think of:
c. Streaming Services
d. All of the above
Next, I will ask you, how do you watch TV?
a. The big box hanging on the wall in your family room
b. Your laptop or pc
c. Your phone or mobile device
d. All of the Above
Next, how do you refer to it when you watch something? Is it:
b. a Program
c. a Series
d. a Show
f. Some junk to distract you from Covid
g. All of the Above
h. None of the Above
Does watching on a device compromise the definition of TV viewing?
c. I don't think about it
e. Not important to me
How do you define your provider?
b. Telecom (FIOS)
c. Streaming (Hulu live or Netflix as examples)
d. None of the Above
I think you see where I'm going with this. Remember it all started with how you defined "TV" and led down a slippery slope to whether you stream (avoiding advertisements) or view network or cable sources.
Do we as consumers differentiate between all this new language or do we just care about what works best for us? How can the media reach us, the consumers, if we don't have a clear understanding of how TV viewership is now defined? It's important because advertising sales are often attributed to a product's ROI, but determining the best way to reach a specific target is dependent on consumers' changing habits, both viewing and behavioral. To simply say place your ad here is no longer a valid option.
Employee-Centric vs. Customer-Centric Approach: You can't have one without the other
Many companies claim to be "customer-centric", focusing on making their customers happy with the highest goal of loyalty. However, when a company is NOT FIRST employee-centric then misunderstandings and mistakes take center stage. Learning, education and training ensures that everyone is on the same page with the same language and shared definitions. When speaking with clients it's easier and advantageous to be able to communicate clearly and properly, as well as to have the knowledge to be able to clarify and explain when something doesn't make sense rather than "YES" them to death, and suffer the consequences later. Sadly uncommon is the scenario in which leaders who don't take the time to educate their people are held accountable for their employee's inability to communicate effectively because they were not first taught and prepared with the correct and updated information.
Time is Precious, Use it Wisely
It goes without saying that as adults there are steps we should all take to educate ourselves, but there are times when training, guidance and education is essential and must be required in the workplace. When one conversation produces different meanings, the results are typically unfavorable, which is due to a failure to communicate and educate. So avoidable!
We are all pressed for time, but leaders and managers MUST allot time regularly to educate and communicate with employees about changes, language, updates and innovations that are happening, and what it means for the company, and the marketplace.
Without taking the time to be employee-centric first, the competition will always have the upper hand. "KNOWLEDGE IS POWER" is a powerful phrase all businesses should adhere to when creating their individual Unique Selling Propositions.