“If you can dream it, you can do it” Walt Disney
“This quote from Disney figures high on a sign at Epcot in Orlando, Florida. While it does beckon the Don Quixote in us all, the idea is incomplete. Believing in one’s dreams is not enough. There are a lot of intoxicating visions and a lot of noble intentions. Many people have rich and deeply textured agendas, but without communication nothing will be realized. Success requires the capacity to relate a compelling image of a desired state of affairs—-the kind of image that induces enthusiasm and commitment in others.
How do you capture imaginations? How do you communicate visions? How do you get people aligned behind the organization’s overarching goals? How do you get an audience to recognize and accept an idea? Workers have to recognize and get behind something of established identity. The management of meaning, mastery of communication, is inseparable from effective leadership.
Finally, what we mean by ‘meaning’ goes far beyond what is usually meant by ‘communication.’ For one thing, it has very little to do with ‘facts’ or even ‘knowing.’ Facts and knowing have to do with technique, with methodology, with knowing how to do things. But thinking is emphatically closer to what we mean by ‘meaning’ than knowing is. Thinking prepares one for what is to redone, what ought to be done. Thinking, though it may be unsettling and dangerous to the established order, is constructive: in challenges old conventions by suggesting new directions, new visions. To depend on facts, without thinking may seen safe and secure, but in the long run it is dangerously unconstructive because it has nothing to say about directions. The distinctive role of leadership (in a volatile environment especially) is the quest for ‘know-why’ ahead of ‘know-how.’ And this distinction illustrates, once again, one of the key differences between leaders and managers.
Lets stop here because this section of the book deals with a significant issue; communication. There will be two more posts related to this topic
Communication is second only to trust in importance for leaders. Why? Communication increases knowledge, builds confidence, trust, commitment, and increases productivity. It creates meaning. It’s the only way groups can become aligned behind vision, mission and goals. Yet it typically shows up on surveys as “Needs Improvement.”
We don’t communicate well with each other (which is no surprise), and there are many reasons why. Our ability to communicate is affected by our styles, tone, body language, filters, barriers, and our inability to listen. Filters and barriers include ego, perceptions, assumptions, language, status, education, history, stereotypes, and jargon. The result is that communication can stop, or be severely limited.
The Strategies For Taking Charge
Meaning Through Communication (continued)