Recently during a senior team meeting where we were discussing problems related to getting information cascaded in a clear and consistent manner, I was asked the following question: “Is this a people issue or a communication issue?”
My response was “Yes.”
Any time I hear issues related to cascading, I think back to the book that caused this word to enter into the lexicon of business leaders across the country, namely Patrick Lecioni’s The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable, (Jossey-Bass, 2000). To review the four disciplines, they are the following:
1. Build and maintain a cohesive leadership team.
2. Create organizational clarity.
3. Over-communicate organizational clarity.
4. Reinforce organizational clarity through human systems.
The concept of cascading is part of discipline #3, namely “Over-communicate organizational clarity.” Here the author focuses on four key points to make this happen:
- multiple mediums
- cascading messages
What many leaders forget is that cascading begins with clarity. What we are cascading starts with what we are over-communicating. And over-communicating starts with clarity about identity and direction. Cascading is a people and a communication problem but most of all it is a clarity issue. If you are having problems with cascading, you have to realize that you are actually having problems with clarity.
This week, ask yourself the following two questions:
- Does my leadership team agree on our identity and direction?
- Are they able to communicate this information in a clear and concise manner?
Answering these two questions is the precursor to over-communicating organizational clarity.