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Communications, Openness, and Respect

Coworkers communicting with each other respectfully

Sharing ideas for improvement can be challenging. If you are the receiving end, it can be viewed as criticism. Others might consider suggestions as a sign of a lack of appreciation, understanding, or respect. That can be the case if such sharing is not approached mindfully and with understanding. Approaching others with the intention of benefiting all involved is more beneficial and respectful than not engaging with others to discuss perceived issues or areas for improvement.

Effective communication starts by listening with the goal of understanding the other person. All of us want to be heard and valued. Beginning with understanding, one can have an effective conversation. Not having such a conversation, even if uncomfortable, prevents you and others from learning and improving.

Open and direct conversations may be difficult, but without them problems only fester, and the value that we can create together is diminished. Difficult conversations may be challenging, but with kindness and concern for the other party involved, they are ultimately beneficial.

I value reasoned disagreement and an opposing points of view. I know what I think and there is no benefit to looking at a room (or Zoom call) full of nodding heads. Progress is more rapid and mistakes can be avoided when there is a free and open exchange of ideas. This is the reason we freely discuss plans, challenges, and share financial information with our employees.

The benefits of working toward common goals outweigh the possible discomfort of discussing challenging topics. If everyone hides in their silos, opportunities for learning and growth are missed. An open environment focused on improvement benefits everyone. Successes should be enjoyed. However, we must also freely discuss every problem or there will be far fewer successes to celebrate. Achieving this type of culture is an ongoing challenge worth celebrating.

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