Communicating process is about letting others know where you are in the process of delivering requested information or in completing a task. Most never think about communicating process because they do not see the value in it. However, when you communicate the process, it lets those who are depending on you know that you are working on what they need and whether you are on target or running behind. This is true for both external clients and internal colleagues.
Let’s consider a few scenarios to tease out what communicating process looks like.
In both scenarios, talking to the client frequently and with full disclosure is your best option. It is not always the most comfortable option, but it is best for the client. Leaving a client in the dark and wondering about what is going on is never a good idea. Communicating the process is your best practice for keeping clients engaged and informed, even when the news is bad.
Additionally, communicating process with your colleagues is a good idea. When someone internally is waiting for you to complete a task or deliver information, communicate your process. Keep each other informed as to your progress or lack thereof. If someone emails you a request, let them know you received it and what your plan is for delivering.
You may not know this, but I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). This is similar to some of your Professional Engineering (PE) licenses. Mine is also regulated by the State and requires regular continuing education. I still practice counseling every Friday afternoon via a virtual platform and still have an occasional face-to-face session with a client.
The most important skill of a good counselor is “listening.” Good listening requires much more energy and focus than most people realize. Listening is completely different than hearing. I can hear you speaking, but may not have a clue what you are saying because I am not listening. Listening is essential for counseling, but it is also a skill good leaders and consultants practice as well.
I want to introduce you to “active listening.” This is a specific type of listening that requires you to pay such close attention in your listening that you can effectively summarize the speaker’s message. Active listening captures not only the content of another person’s message but understands the emotions and motivations driving their message. Here are the basics of “active listening.”
These tips help your brain to listen more effectively. The best time to practice active listening is when the conversation is conflicted and laced with negative emotions. Conflict makes active listening very difficult because you may be frustrated, angry, disappointed, or any other number of negative emotions. This makes you defensive and combative. However, practicing active listening in the most difficult conversations will prove to lower the tensions, keep you on track toward a solution and keep you connected to the other person when it is most critical!
Every year, we make New Year’s resolutions. According to a Gallup Poll, only 8% follow through on these resolutions and most have given up by January 19. We are remarkably inept at following through on the goals we set for ourselves. So how does the very small minority who do achieve their goals do it? They plan, set accountability, and execute.
The odds of you following through on a goal are 10% at the idea stage, 40% if you set a deadline, 50% if you create a step-by-step plan, and 90% if you utilize accountability partners. If you want to succeed in achieving your goals set deadlines, make a step-by-step plan, and utilize accountability.
When it comes to day-to-day work, most tasks get accomplished because of accountability. If you have five work tasks that must be completed by a specific deadline and you do not accomplish those tasks you run the risk of upsetting your client, making errors, and losing business. These are all strong accountability measures to ensure you complete your goals. But when it comes to “voluntary” tasks and goals such as increasing your business development skills or attending a business networking event, unless you plan and utilize accountability, the odds of you achieving these goals are very small.
If you want to mature in your business acumen and professional development, learn to set specific plans and establish accountability for yourself. The odds of you increasing your value to your co-workers and your company goes up tremendously when you plan and set accountability!
Gabe Lett, FSMPS, CPSM, LPC