For Leaders: How to COmmunicate and Not Just Mmunicate

Peter Hymans
Staff Writer

There are several fascinating similarities between the functions of electronic components and the way people attempt to give information to one another.

Take the “diode” as an example. This little piece of special silicon and wire restricts the flow of electricity so that current flows smoothly: one-way. If one tries to send current flow the opposite way, it is resisted (held back) up to the point where the diode literally blows up with a spark and smoke.

Making a verb out of the word “diode,” humans often “diode,” meaning they issue a flow of words outward but let nothing come back in. And, if too much comes back their way, they resist and may “blow-up.” Dioders are hard-wired into being “mmunicators.”

Mmunicators dispense information outward but are unwilling or unable to “take it in,” when someone else offers up something to them. There is an absence of the “CO” back-and-forth dialogue, or the give and take, analysis and mutual agreement that comes from a reciprocal experience.

Picture two warships, steaming through thick fog into a narrow passage. Each ship is dialed into a different radio frequency.

Captain Meemee, of the missile cruiser “Big Man” radios out: “This is cruiser Big Man to carrier Myway. We are entering the channel ahead of you.”

About the same time and on a different radio frequency, Admiral Noitsmi of the aircraft carrier “Myway” radios: “Attention cruiser Big Man; we are preceding ahead of you into the channel; follow-us.”

Both ships sent a one-way current message, and the other ship – like a diode – allowed nothing in. Clearly, without acknowledgment, reflection or argument, a horrible collision would result.

Another example! Admiral Noitsmi diodes AT Captain MeeMee: “We are going to sail south and will rendezvous with you at Team Bay Island.”

Meanwhile Captain MeeMee receives no radio signal because his ship is off-frequency (diode mode) so he has the Big Man sail to the Watahek Straits, where they wait, frustrated and confused, for the Myway to arrive. It never does.

Many men go by the clumsy (if not stupid) notion that “Communication is the responsibility of the receiver.”

Such men think along the lines of: “When I say something, it is up to you to correctly interpret what I mean and then to act in the way I want.”

Leaders often make diode statements like, “Just get the job done” without giving a vision of what the “job” requires. Then, in true diode fashion, they give no option for questions-seeking clarity from the other party. The listener may flounder and do nothing. Or he might do something very far off from the job that the leader expected. Dioding failures are seen every day.

“10-4,” “Roger,” “Copy that,” “Wilco,” and “I read you 5 by 5” are terminology created so recipients of mmunications will echo back: “I’ve heard you. I understand. I will comply.”

Here is the main point: Mmunications become COmmunications through COoperation.

Avoiding diode-ing is key to good leadership and teamwork. The COnversation between parties (back and forth … forth and back) cause clarity, completeness and high quality to be present.

Surely, there are obvious limits to the amount of back and forth dialogue or nothing gets done. The key to good leadership is to COmmunicate just enough to reach an understanding and then agree to STFU and get into action.

By creating efficient dialogue circuits we can CO-operate, CO-laborate, CO-produce, CO-author CO-exist, CO-habit, CO-host, CO-ordinate, CO-own, CO-respond, CO-sign and be CO-stars in a systematic cooperation where excellent COmmunication is caused by discipline and where the results are shared by both the leader and those who execute the cooperative actions to achieve their Wildly Important Goals.

Things go better with CO.



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