Impact versus Intent

Welcome to the first in a regular series of guest articles from employees across Filtermist’s businesses looking at topics and issues which are commonplace amongst companies of all sizes. This week Filtermist’s Director of Group Shared Services, Jo Morris, talks about the role clear communication has to play in boosting productivity and profitability, as well as minimising workplace conflict.  

“Most of us can think of a situation where something we have said or done has received a reaction which was not in the least what we expected or intended – it didn’t ‘land’ right! From a business perspective this can sometimes result in conflict between colleagues, meaning on occasion HR needs to intervene.

“It is widely recognised that there are three types of communication styles: Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic - also known as VAK. People with a strong leaning towards one style may find it difficult to get their message across to someone who has a vastly different preference – this can lead to misunderstanding which can then result in time being wasted and feelings of annoyance and resentment.

“In the workplace, this can have a direct impact on the bottom line. Time wasted on jobs where the original brief was misunderstood, is time that could have been spent more productively and profitably. This works on all levels – from conversations and exchanges between colleagues, to ensuring customer briefs are correctly interpreted and understood.

“However, lots of people (particularly in our culture), shy away from asking for clarification if they don’t entirely understand what is being asked of them. Some people may think that asking for clarification and admitting they didn’t understand something the first-time around could be viewed as a sign of weakness, when in actual fact it’s the exact opposite! Seeking clarity ensures the likelihood of a successful outcome is far higher and therefore should be viewed as a strength. Obviously, this comes with a caveat – if someone is repeatedly asking for further explanation there could be a significant communication issue that needs addressing.

“It’s also important for the person delivering the communication to try and avoid any potential for misunderstanding. It’s not practical to think about all conversations or emails beforehand, but it is possible to sense check sometimes and ask yourself if you are being clear enough, or if your message may have an impact on the recipient that is not intended.

“Filtermist has recently re-introduced a series of Masterclasses for our internal team; ‘Impact Vs Intent’ is just one of the subjects we’re covering in this programme as this really resonates with many people. This session also directly supports the business as it helps to ensure all jobs and projects are completed ‘right first time’."

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