Building Management Hawaii February/March 2014 - (Page 36)

The (Often Overlooked) Success Factor Adapting your communication style can radically improve relationships and help foster team success. By Nancy Gille What are "top team success factors?" No doubt each of us have our own ideas and answers to this question. So it is not surprising that a simple Internet search yields nearly five million results. Common to many lists of factors are such things as: shared purpose and goals, competent and committed team members, clear roles and responsibilities, adequate resources, customer orientation, collaboration and leadership. Whether it is too obvious or taken for granted, one factor that is often overlooked as a team success factor is communications. If you're looking to improve team success-and relationships, you could do worse than to study styles of communication. In fact, research undertaken by Alex "Sandy" Pentland at MIT's Human Dynamics Laboratory found "patterns of communication to be the most important predictor of team's success ... as significant as all the other factors-individual intelligence, personality, skill and the substance of discussions-combined." (The New Science of Building Great Teams, Harvard Business Review, April 2012). Yet all too often, we assume that the manner in which we communicate "is what it is" or in other words our style is fixed. Little or no thought is given to our ability to adapt our communication behavior. And, when one does stop to consider best communication practices, a common frame of reference is something we learn as children: the so-called Golden Rule. After all, what could be better than to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you?" Take for example, Samantha ("Sam"), a no-nonsense property manager who prefers to get down to business quickly. With a focus on bottom-line results, Sam's style is to launch directly into the subject matter at hand in her emails as well as face-to-face and phone conversations. She finds annoying OPEN Relater Socializer DIRECT INDIRECT coMMunication Thinker Director GUARDED 36 February-March 2014 BMH the vendor or employee who arrives at a Monday morning meeting and takes (what feels like) 10 minutes to share with everyone the funny thing that happened over the weekend. And, she has no patience for lengthy communications that don't get straight to the point or, even worse, include personal matters such as "Did you see ..." followed by a review of last night's episode of their favorite television show. Sam finds it unprofessional to waste time when there are decisions to be made-something she does with cool authority-and work to be accomplished. On the other hand, Logan is someone who values personal relationships with his co-workers, and actively listens to their thoughts and feelings. From his perspective, time spent in this manner is a worthwhile investment. He is warm and friendly, and it requires no patience on his part to spend time listening to his co-workers, vendors and tenants. In fact, dealing with people who keep things on a purely business level leaves him cold. Logan finds it rude that Sam doesn't even say "hi" when she phones him before immediately asking "where is the project update?" He wishes she would at least say "thank you" from time to time when he delivers better-than-expected results ahead of schedule. For Logan, taking time to get to know people on a personal level promotes harmony and stability. And, unlike Sam, when it comes to making decisions he likes to consult others rather than behaving in a way he perceives as dictatorial. Sam and Logan are an example of why the Golden Rule doesn't always work. Rather than assume that others want to be treated the same as we prefer, consider the Platinum Rule: "Do unto others as they would have you do unto them." In simpler terms, it is possible to adapt our behavior

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Building Management Hawaii February/March 2014

Engineered Efficiency: A Holistic Approach
Why Host An EV Charger
The New Age Of Energy Metering
Are You On Island Time?
Time To Stay Cool
Through The Tinted-Glass, And What Savings You’ll Find There
Managing Off-Site
Safe & Secure
HVAC: Top Trends
An Industry Unites At Expo 2014
The (Often Overlooked) Success Factor
On Site: Men At Work

Building Management Hawaii February/March 2014