“Communication” problems often lead you down a rat hole

Jacques told me in our initial intake  the he had invested a “shit load amount of money” into a startup which was going belly up because of “communication problems”.

Yves called me in because his CFO and Marketing Manager had “communication from hell”.

And Hans asked me to do some work because with introduction of the new ERP, communication between various functions had broken down.

In all three cases, the client self diagnosed incorrectly.

Indeed all three companies had communication issues, but  communication  was either a symptom or a clue that something else was wrong.

In Jacques’ case, the head of development and the head of product marketing did not agree as to product requirements and the CEO could’t decide because he was a bean counter and idiot.

Yves turned out to be playing his marketing manager and CFO against one another and he himself was the problem.

In Hans organization, the ERP was too rigid for the flexible nature of the organization. As a result, the ERP did not work very well; lo and behold people needed to use their common sense. (should unit 1 or 2 pay for staff expert Tom’s flight).

The moral of the story is the early bird gets the worm. No, just joking.

The moral of the story is that self diagnosis of communication problems is highly unreliable in many cases, often masking other issues which are more deep rooted.



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10 thoughts on ““Communication” problems often lead you down a rat hole

  1. Allon – Thanks so much for continuing to write your blog. This week’s and last week’s seemed particularly poignant for me. I just got chewed out for not dealing more directly with an issue the client had identified and diagnosed. Not to surprising, he missed the point. Ah well…

  2. Allon,
    In my experience, communication as you described is rarely the problem. Much like you describe, it is competition, power games, blame, etc. It’s all great fun to watch! Not so good living in it and trying to get something done.
    Thank you for continuing to post.
    You can’t make this stuff up.

  3. Yes, ‘communication’ is often a symptom’ of another, bigger issue, just like ‘lack of leadership’ is many times a symptom of a larger issue that lurks underneath what we can ‘see’ ….

    Interesting how people try to understand issues through the same ‘lens’ of which they were created…

    All the best…

  4. Allon, does management perception ever match front line reality? Regardless of what the self-diagnosis is, I’ve hardly ever seen that perception to be accurate.

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