About That Communication

Is lack of communication REALLY the problem?  How about another consideration…individual responsibility of both the sender and receiver.  And what was the timing of that communication?  With e-mail, phone calls, texting, meetings, EIM sites, Facebook, Twitter, friends, office chatter, the grapevine, First Sergeants, Chiefs, and Commanders flowing communications, how is there a lack of communication?

What’s truly lacking is time to critically think, integrate the information received, sufficient time to think about the communication received and time to listen to the feedback from the communication.  I’ll bet that in the 10 seconds you’ve been reading this commentary you’ve received at least one interruption, one pop-up email on your computer or one ping on your cell phone.  And what did you do?  You grudgingly tore your eyes away from this communication to look or hear other words. 

In today’s environment of instantaneousness, expectations are for an instantaneous action, reply, decision or understanding.  Drive thru McDonalds and I’ll bet you’re irritated if you wait at the window for your food.  Or stand in line at a pharmacy.  Why?  Because you’ve given your request and you expect an instant action.  Was there a lack of communication?  No.  I love the question “did you get my email?”  Well if you hit send, yes I did.  After clicking that send button, you’re expecting, literally, an instant reply.  Sorry, my email was off while working on your evaluation. 

Another favorite I hear is “I just have a quick question.”  Well, yes you do!  What you’re failing to integrate is that fact that I just might require some time to think about the answer or make a decision.  Or maybe I’m pondering the previous 20 questions that I’ve already been asked.  The greatest lack of integration is the facet of understanding.  One assumes that all communications given are read/heard, comprehended and understandable.  Was it?  If the receiver of information doesn’t understand ‘it’ then how is that communicated?  If the sender fails to follow up, or the receiver fails to reach back, why blame lack of communication? 

If anything, there’s an over-abundance of communication and under-abundance of time to integrate that communication.  Email in particular is a convenient tool of use to ‘punt’ the communication responsibility to the receiver.  After all, the ‘send’ button was clicked on.  Therefore it’s the receiver’s responsibility to read it.  Received, yes.  Understood and integrated?  It depends….To which communication should I prioritize my attention?  Communication sent may be instantaneous.  A response - a thoughtful, brilliant response - requires time to think. 

Consider the next written or verbal communication you send.  Did you allow time for the receiver to receive, think and integrate that communication to the desired state?  A complaint of ‘lack of communication’, I believe, is inaccurate.  There may be however, ‘lack of integration’.