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August 2010
Ann Latham
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Welcome to the Clear Thoughts ™ newsletter from Uncommon Clarity! Have you visited our totally new website loaded with workshops, articles, products, tools, tips, audio recordings, videos, and more?

Today's Clear Thoughts™
Winning IS Everything!
"Poor Communication" - What Does It Really Mean?
How to Save Hours and Dollars
On Facebook?
Parting Thoughts - "My Dentist's Son Just Married Your Niece"
Winning IS Everything!

Southwest launched no-frills, low-fare air travel and in no time at all Jet Blue, Ryanair and others were doing the same. FedEx promised delivery by 10:00 AM and before we knew it even the US Postal Service claimed the same capability. Apple created a super-cool touch-screen phone and now the phone store has so many look-alikes you can't trust a quick glance to locate the new iPhones.

Whether you try to win by being lowest cost, the most reliable and convenient, super-cool, or something else, you can be sure that if your approach succeeds, competitors will copy you as fast as they can. Today's competitive edge is tomorrow's norm.

Furthermore, rapid changes in market needs and wants triggered by the economy, technology, the environment, regulations, and more eliminate all guarantees that the value you provide today will be valued tomorrow.

The only way to succeed is to continually change.
  • Where are you winning and why?
  • What is changing that will affect your ability to win?
  • What are you doing to find, sharpen, or shift your competitive edge?

Looking for a way to win profitably? Call us today at 800-527-0087.
"Poor Communication" What Does It Really Mean?

Not sure I've ever encountered an organization that doesn't complain about "poor communication." But what does it really mean?

Too often companies respond to the complaint with meetings, memos, newsletters, announcements, presentations, and videos without ever touching the real cause of the complaints.

There are four main reasons why employees complain about a lack of communication:
  1. Employees don't know what is important

    An unclear strategy and priorities make it impossible for employees to make smart decisions. While poor communication of the strategy and priorities is one possible cause, more often there isn't a clear strategy, the strategy is too complex, and/or there are too many priorities. If there are too many priorities, there are no priorities. If employees don't know what is important, they assume someone is failing to tell them and thus, poor communication is the complaint.

  2. Employees don't know who is supposed to do what when

    Ill-defined roles, responsibilities, and processes are another common culprit. Communication may be part of the problem but, more likely, roles, responsibilities, and processes are simply ill-defined. The resulting confusion is annoying at best. People begging for clarification often complain about a poor communication.

  3. Employees don't do what they are supposed to do

    A lack of commitment, discipline, and/or accountability by even a small minority of employees can create the feeling that no one knows who is supposed to do what. You can clarify and communicate roles and responsibilities until you are blue in the face but if employees just do their own thing, confusion ensues, and others will complain about poor communication.

  4. Employees don't like surprises that affect their work and lives

    The way decisions are made and communicated is often more important than the decision itself if you are affecting employees's sense of security and control. When surprised, even if the surprise isn't bad, a lack of awareness, input, and control often leaves people complaining about poor communication. However, if you let them know a decision is underway and give them reason to believe that their needs are understood and their perspectives are represented, they will accept even bad decisions with fewer ruffled feathers and complaints.
As with any problem, the solution requires eliminating the cause. Well-intentioned ideas generated without knowledge of the cause have little chance of being effective and almost always waste significant time and money.

Need help clarifying, creating, or communicating a strong strategy? Wondering how to clarify roles and responsibilities? Struggling with establishing commitment and holding people accountable? Call 800-527-0087 today.
How to Save Hours and Dollars

How many hours a week to do you and your employees spend in meetings? If the average is 10 - 20 hours/person, that means that 25% - 50% of your employees are effectively employed just to attend meetings.

What if you could cut that number in half while simultaneously getting better results? What would that do for your organization? How much could that be worth to your bottom line? Where else could you find that kind of savings potential?

I haven't met many meetings that I couldn't cut in half. Let me show you how:
Don't wait. The potential is huge!
On Facebook?

Uncommon Clarity, Inc. now has a Facebook Page. Check it out and become a fan by "Like"ing our page! It's a great way for you to read concise, helpful tips on the fly and to share your comments with us.

Looking forward to seeing you on Facebook!
Parting Thoughts -  "My Dentist's Son Just Married Your Niece"

My brother, author of the Owen McKenna mystery series, was at a book-signing in Lake Tahoe when a woman approached and said, "My dentist's son just married your niece."

I can picture his brain churning through images of nieces, weddings, Massachusetts, dentists, Virginia, and dentists talking to patients with tool-filled mouths before he realized what this woman was saying.

A lively conversation ensued about the bride and groom, whom she has never met, the groom's wonderful father, the Virginia dentist, whom my brother has never met, my brother's books, which she had read, the Massachusetts wedding, her vacation home in Lake Tahoe, and more.

Seems like an amazing coincidence, though it really isn't when you think about it. What is amazing is how a little common link instantly generates such a warm connection between complete strangers. Furthermore, as the tale spreads back through those same linkages and beyond, the smiles spread as well.

There is incredible power and joy in connections and it all starts with people who are genuinely interested in learning about each other and sharing. Makes you think differently about networking and dentists, doesn't it?

Best regards,
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Ann Latham

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