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Fostering open communication


Open communication is like the fluid in your joints: when it's there, you don't even notice it. But when it breaks down, every day becomes painful. Too often, we encounter information silos at work. Not necessarily because people are hoarding knowledge on purpose – usually because we simply forget to talk to colleagues we don’t interact with every day. Heck: we even forget to keep our own teammates informed sometimes!

Of course, there’s more to open communication than providing project updates. We also need to feel safe sharing our opinions. That goes double for being open about our mistakes and sharing the lessons we learned. It’s up to each of us to create an environment of psychological safety and respectful dissent where we can be candid, even if we’re in the odd one out. None of this is easy, nor does it happen overnight.

The good news, however, is that adopting a few simple practices can have a dramatic impact on how your team communicates and works together.

Top 4 plays for opening up communication at work

Use these techniques to build muscle around sharing updates and creating safe spaces to speak candidly. 

Stand-ups

This 10-minute ritual for sharing progress and surfacing blockers makes team communication a daily habit. The result? Fewer dropped balls and less duplicated effort amongst teammates. What’s more, standups can easily be adapted to be remote-friendly using chat or video conferencing.

Stakeholder Communications Plan

When you’re immersed in a project or rolling out a change, it’s easy to lose track of who’s been told what (and who on the project team owns that task). At the end of this play, you’ll have a matrix of what kind of information each stakeholder needs and how often you’ll communicate updates to them.

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Retrospectives

Use this classic agile technique to share thoughts openly about how your team is working together. Remember: what’s said in a retrospective stays in the retrospective. That doesn’t mean you won’t take action to address the issues raised, though!

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Sparring

Put your open communication game to the test! Share a work in progress with colleagues you trust and ask them for candid feedback on it. Leave your ego at the door – this is all about teammates supporting each other and helping to deliver the best work of their lives.

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Project Team Health Monitor

Use the Health Monitor to self-assess against eight attributes common amongst high-performing teams, then track your progress over time.

Gather your project team for an honest discussion about how you're working together.

 

Team Project Product

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