On Communication

My workplace isn’t the only place I harp on communication. I’ve also done it in my HOA. We have a good board of directors for our HOA, but due to some advice from the HOA’s management company to be careful from a liability standpoint about conducting business on the various mailing lists in use in the community, there are times when communication about HOA related matters depends on that management company to do a distribution in email, and the management company hasn’t shown they do a very good job of this. Anyway, I harped on that, a little harder than I probably should have, and I got rightfully called out for it publicly. And I deserved it.

One of the points in that was this:

If Jason Young wants to volunteer he can certainly come on board. The last time we asked for volunteers for the Communication committee he did not volunteer.

I actually laughed a bit when I read that, not at the poster, at myself. Because that’s for dang sure, I can’t complain about something and not step up to it, but I did have some rationale for it, and I thought my response was pretty relevant to things outside my community — and to colleagues and to the eventual “Googlization” of this

This is a completely fair criticism. I have made a big deal about communication, and continue to do so, and in fact, did not volunteer for the “Communication committee” I was even asked twice about it and I didn’t respond.

It’s really hard to complain about something and not step up to it. That can be hypocritical as all get out 😀 Hey I certainly am that more times than I will ever want to be.

But not about this, and here’s the rationale. I work in Higher Education on Government grants. The first thing we do about anything is to “form a committee” And the second thing we do is fail at what we are doing because we formed a committee. The thing is, you don’t need a committee to communicate. In fact, committees make it worse. We don’t need meetings, we don’t need planning, we don’t need a roadmap, we don’t need nametags, we don’t need those things to “communicate” You might need one for a newsletter. You definitely ought to have one for landscaping. You need a group of people that care about those subjects to sit around and bounce ideas off each other to do those things.

But communication, you just do.

I know it’s not quite that simple. I know from every day in all the positions I’ve been in, you have to continue to ask yourself “who should know this” and to make sure that the folks that need to know, that want to know, that should know, well, know. It’s not easy, in any area of this thing we call life.

But I think the core point for the workplace, our social groups, our professional organizations, our families: communication doesn’t need committees, it’s just what you do.