Project managers spend most of their time communicating. In fact, up to 90% of a project manager’s time is spent on communications. When we hear this statistic, we often tend to think of Project Managers communicating outside the organization. In other words — to external stakeholders. A good part of this communication should be taking place within the organization as well. The internal communication is just as important, if not more so, than what goes out externally.
I recently downloaded Dave Ramsey’s new book “EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches.” In the book, Mr. Ramsey provides GREAT practical knowledge and insight on starting a business and being in business in general. Many of these same business understandings can, and should, be used in any project management endeavor. What really struck me was his insight on internal communications.
Effective internal communication keeps the team moving in the same direction. Mr. Ramsey asserts most business are horrible at internal communications. I would argue that many Project Management Offices have the same trait. Large Project Management Offices and dispersed teams do not make communicating internally any easier. Mr. Ramsey points out ineffective communications makes the right hand not know what the left hand is up to. When the team is not on the same page they are nothing more than individuals working in the same office without a common purpose. Many organizations fail because:
- Communication is not a priority
- Leadership is fearful so they intentionally un-communicate.
Modifying Dave Ramsey’s formula slightly:
Great Communication = Great Organizations
How do we get there?
-Communicating internally needs to be a priority.
-Dedicate time to get everyone on the same page.
-Trust your people, don’t keep information secret. If the team does not have information, they will make it up which will get everyone disjointed.
-Be forthcoming with the bad news. It tends to get out anyway and if it does not come from leadership, will cause distrust among the team.
Taking some time and performing an internal communications audit can have a lasting affect.