Leadership Communication: Striking the Right Chord

In the fast-paced world of business leadership, effective communication is the cornerstone of success. Here’s a streamlined guide to help you navigate the do’s and don’ts.

  1. Do: Embrace Brevity and Clarity
    • Time is a premium for everyone. Get straight to the point without sacrificing clarity. Your communication should be like a well-written executive summary: it gives you everything you need to know without wading through the appendix.
  2. Don’t: Drown Your Message in Jargon
    • Technical language has its place, but clear communication is always the priority. Your aim… enlighten not obscure.
  3. Do: Listen Actively and Show Empathy
    • Engage with your team in a way that makes them feel heard and valued. Active listening can lead to more productive collaborations, much like a well-conducted code review session encourages better programming outcomes.
  4. Don’t: Shy Away from Difficult Conversations
    • Address issues promptly and constructively. Avoiding difficult conversations can lead to resentment and disengagement. Approach these situations as you would a complex project: with a strategy, clear objectives, and the willingness to find a solution.
  5. Do: Value Diverse Opinions
    • Foster an environment where different perspectives are not just heard but actively sought. Diverse viewpoints can be the seedbed for innovation, much like diverse testing environments ensure software robustness.

In essence, effective communication for business leaders is not just about the transfer of information but also about building relationships and creating an environment where ideas can prosper. It’s about being succinct yet comprehensive, like a well-commented code that guides rather than confuses. Keep these principles in mind, and watch your team’s productivity and morale soar.

5 Productivity Hacks: No Fluff, Just Stuff

Hack 1: Time Blocking

The Gist: Dedicate chunks of time to specific tasks.

Time blocking isn’t new, but it’s gold. Ever find your calendar looks free, but your day vanishes? That’s because time, like water, fills available space. Block off hours for coding, hours for meetings, and don’t forget hours for thinking.

Hack 2: The Two-Minute Rule

The Gist: Do it now if it takes less than two minutes.

This gem is from David Allen’s “Getting Things Done.” Got a quick email to shoot off or a document to skim? Two minutes or less? Don’t stall—knock it out.

Hack 3: The Eisenhower Matrix

The Gist: Classify tasks by urgency and importance.

Divide tasks into four categories: urgent and important, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, and neither. Tackle them in that order. Why is it on your list if something’s neither urgent nor important?

Hack 4: Email Sprints

The Gist: Cluster your email-checking.

Don’t be an email addict. Check it two or three times a day in focused sprints. Anything requiring more thought gets its time block.

Hack 5: The 90/20 Rule

The Gist: Work 90 minutes, break for 20.

Your brain operates in cycles called ultradian rhythms—roughly 90-minute periods of high activity. Work with that flow. Go hard for 90, then take 20 to recharge. You’re not a robot; don’t act like one.

That’s it—five hacks to get more done with less stress. Because productivity isn’t just about doing more; it’s about doing what matters. Now go get it done.

Read The Economist, Watch I’m Not Your Guru, Ask Your Employees What to Stop

Here’s what I’m reading, watching, and stopping:

  • Read The Economist.  I first came across The Economist on a trip to London.  I find it an a-political commentary on what’s happening in the world.  In particular, I like the Schumpeter column.    
  • Watch I’m Not Your Guru featuring Tony Robbins.  Robbins is someone that folks either love or hate.  This insight into his seminars and what happens behind the scenes, I’ve found interesting.
  • Start asking your employees what to stop doing.  As part of our strategic planning, we have employees meet for a “Town Hall.” In the Town Hall, management is not present; employee’s facilitated feedback is anonymous and aggregated.  One of the common questions is what is something the firm should “start doing,” “stop doing,” and “continue doing.  ” For the item we should stop doing; it helps eliminate processes, tasks, or other things bogging down the company.

Read Adam Grant, Watch Genius, Quit Spam Phone Calls

I’m changing the format of my blog posts to read, watch, and stop.  I’ll share what I’m currently reading, watching, and, to help declutter life, something I’m stopping. 

Here’s this post’s read, watch, stop:

  • Watch:  Genius by Stephen Hawking has everyday people perform experiments and solve problems to understand scientific concepts from evolution to time travel.  I’ve enjoyed watching and discussing episodes with my kids.
  • Stop:  Stop unwanted calls.  I use an iPhone app called RoboKiller.  RoboKiller stops known spammers and makes it easy to block callers.