Departments, by nature, have specific role expectations and specific characteristics in order for them to function effectively. However, that very difference can also cause miscommunication when interacting with one another. By way of example, for this blog, I’m going to look at the roles of Sales, Marketing and Operations, but the same principle applies to any departments in an organisation.
The characteristics of these management departments within organisations can often be described in the following way:
- SALES DEPARTMENTS: resourceful in solving new and challenging problems, strategically analysing and generating conceptual possibilities, stimulated by difficulties and quick at devising creative responses, bored by routine and find schedules and standard operating procedures confining.
- OPERATIONS DEPARTMENTS: realistic, thorough, dependable, logically deciding what should be done and fulfilling commitments within specified deadlines, have clear, steadfast and often creative opinions arrived at by careful and thorough application of criteria based on experience and knowledge.
- MARKETING DEPARTMENTS: practical and matter of fact, apply and adapt relevant experience and data to deal with problems, results focussed, decisive and move quickly to implement decisions, prefer all to follow their clear set of logical standards, value competence and efficiency.
When reviewed in this way, it is easy to see why misunderstanding and therefore miscommunication can be commonplace. This has the potential to cause deadlock and inaction, with key input suppressed or just ignored. However, understanding the positive intentions and contributions of each role reduces any resentment over the different approaches and makes it easier for the team members to listen to and learn from one another’s insights.
Therefore, if identified and constructively handled, excellent results can be achieved by utilising the unique styles of each department’s underlying team members, and establishing effective communication skills (inc listening and giving feedback), to produce more innovative and integrated decisions.
Investigate within each department:
- The unique expectations of the role
- The behavioural characteristics of the department as a whole
- What currently works well
- What conflicts can be identified
Then, by forming a cross-departmental discussion group from the 3 roles, you can start to identify the key differences, appreciate each department’s perspective and agree a method of communication and follow-up procedures for ongoing implementation. Getting together in this way also has the added bonus, as stronger relationships can be established when in each other’s presence than can be achieved when working at a distance.
When dealing with conflict often takes up to a quarter of management time, finding an approach to improve communication skills can help save organisations millions of pounds in time, decision making delays and missed deadlines which have previously affected speed to market, customer satisfaction, sales targets and operational productivity.
The Sales, Marketing, Operations – Inspiring Communication Skills programme consists of interviews and coaching workshops, developed specifically to help each organisation identify fully where conflict lies whilst providing a non-confrontational environment to explore preferences, motivations and effective communication skills.