Communicating Decisions In The Organizations

Short Apr 15, 2021

In organizations and communities, people work hard to agree. Although decision-makers have valid reasons to make meaningful choices, they often communicate poorly. If they make mistakes, they either apologize or defend themselves and keep the lousy communication going. So, how should you deliver a message without being in these dire situations?

The people who announce the decisions are often focus on the incoming change more than the clarity of the message. This focus leads to concentrating on motivating people. Actually, the motivation comes from clarity. Because humans don't like ambiguity, and human nature thinks of unknown situations as a threat. When the communication is clear, transparent, and has no place for speculations, people approach more positively even if the decision affects them badly. When there is no separation between the decision and the announcement, the message gets unclear. Of course, they are closely coupled. But they can be separated by a little bit of empathy.

While preparing the message, put yourself into the others' shoes. How would you prefer to receive this message? When there isn't a reflection of empathy in the announcement, it gives people the impression of not being heard and creates a "they vs. us" environment. The situation leads to resentment, complaining, many questions, or even resignations.

Announcing a decision is a conversation, not broadcasting. In the conversations, personalization of the language is essential. If you constantly talk formally, you remove the sophistication and the touch of personality. Decisions can be formal, but communication is better in an informal way. The medium of the message (email, Slack, Zoom, etc.) affects this formality a lot. Being thoughtful of the communication tool increases the probability of successful presentation as much as the message's clarity.

The success of the communication is alone not enough. When there is a change, you want people to adapt and change their behaviors as well. Otherwise, the decision is for nothing. Changing people is more complicated than delivering the message. If you want to change how people behave, make your announcement precise and satisfying.

Along with clarity and sophistication by empathy, making the announcement satisfying is crucial. Even in dense decisions, when the message includes reasons, people tend to feel satisfied because they can make a better judgment instead of speculating.

Lastly, people forget. If you want people to change their minds or apply a new method, the only way is to continue repeating the message. The problem is not their competence but human nature. Changing the behavior creates natural resistance. However, you have no option other than to repeat the message. What alternative do you have? If you change the message halfway, it will only create confusion, mistrust and a lack of direction.

Decisions change the organizations. These changes should make people a little bit uncomfortable but not chaotic. A low level of comfort is needed for people to awake and act on it. However, if the change brings chaos, then it means delivering the message or the decision wasn't that great. In any way, the rule remains: you can not not-communicate.

Candost Dagdeviren

Sr. Software Engineer. Writes about software engineering, leadership, tech, cultural differences, and their effect on people.

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