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Submitted by dougp on


I'm working through objectives with my team right now. Quite a few of them mentioned  they'd like to improve their communication skills.

Do you have some ideas on what measurable objectives around communication?

I've got a few ideas floating around right now. i.e. Present a particular topic in my staff meeting 3 times before June 30th. When you disagree with a team member ensure you repeat what the problem is before stating your disagreement.  

In some cases, the communication improvements revolve around influence and presenting ideas. In other cases it revolves around disagreements and handling them better. 

Thanks for any help.

mattpalmer's picture

Ask yourself (or the team member) what specifically they've done poorly in the past, or haven't done but would like to.  Make the rules for this exactly the same as you would use for determining whether something is a behaviour upon which you would give feedback.  In pretty much every case, once you've gotten an actual behaviour, it's trivial to construct a metric to measure improvement in the behaviour.

In the examples you've given, a desire to improve "influence" might have come from a situation where the direct needed to get something from someone, and the person refused.  The simple measurement there is to keep a record, every day, of the number of times your direct asked someone for something, and whether the request was "successful"  The goal would probably be to get that number above some percentage.  "Presenting ideas" should be trivial to produce a goal for.  Handling conflict is a combination of both handling it calmly and successfully when it gets out of control, and avoiding escalation in the first place, so I'd probably go for a metric that just measured the number of conflicts per unit of time that didn't end well, and try to push that as low as possible.