How to Become a Successful Distributor in the FMCG Sector

The Fast Moving Consumer Goods or the FMCG sector is a place where goods are sold at a relatively low price and includes products which sell out much quicker than other products. They mostly keep perishable items as opposed to durable items. For example, packaged foods, beverages, toiletries, over-the-counter drugs etc.; whereas durable items include kitchen appliances, textiles, items which can be used for many years. FMCG goods mainly compose of items which have low shelf life. Because it includes items which are required by masses in their daily lifestyle and because this sector has a huge demand, it is essential that this sector divides it work amongst various other short segments. The major segments in the FMCG sector are Manufacturer – Packaging – Sales and Distributorship – Retailer/Wholesaler.A distributor is someone who will ensure that all your products reach the right people. Whether it is business to business or business to personal. In any emerging market, as demand for a product increases, so does the need for distributors. From everyday use items like cooking oil, packaged foods like biscuits, snacks and everything else with an expiry date, every new trend which comes up as a team of dedicated distributors hard at work to find quality manufacturers and help them bring their product to retail.Steps to follow to become a Distributor:

Decide what type of distribution business you will run: Distributors can be split into two categories based on who they serve. The first category is, retail distributors buy from wholesalers or manufacturers and sell products directly to consumers. The second Category is, wholesale merchant distributors buy from manufacturers and resell the products to retailers or other distributors. You need to decide which type suits you best and work upon that.

Decide what you would like to distribute: You could focus on a specific product or offer a variety of items. You could base your decisions on a product about which you may feel passionately or any product which you think is not available much in the market. While many large companies are served by equally large distributors, these distributors are unwilling or unable to serve smaller, more specialized business.

Estimate your start-up costs: In addition to a business plan, you will also need some idea of how much money it will take to get your business up and running. As a distributor, your major area of expense will be your inventory. This means that your start-up costs will go parallel as to what product or products you choose to sell. If you are selling a single product then the pricing will depend on how many retailers you are targeting.

Figure out how to sell your products: This will depend largely on who your customers are and what type of products you’re selling. In any case, you have to chalk down specific goals on what methods you can adapt to sell your goods. One of the best ways to do so is to connect more and more with the manufacturers as well as the Retailer/Wholesalers. The more connections you build, the better opportunities you get. This can mean anything from advertising to personal meetings with store owners to search-engine optimization (SEO).

Form your company legally: You’ll have to legally create the company before you can do business. Check with your state regulations and see if you need to create an operating agreement or another type of founding document. Gather any business partners you have for this venture and have them sign any legal documents you fill out

Make your business licensed and registered: You will have to register your business with the correct places or business association as and when required. Your company should be listed in the legal list of companies. Other legal steps may be required to get your business started.

Contact manufacturers or wholesalers of your products: You will need to find sources from which you will buy your product. To locate manufacturers and wholesalers, you will need to build Relationships and connections which will help you to define your work. Networking is the foundation of the distribution industry. You must gain a deep understanding of your target market and clients to develop stronger partnerships. Keep communication open and available.

Purchase inventory: Once you’ve found a source for product, it’s time to place your first order. You’ll need to purchase however much inventory you need. Keeping in mind the budgetary and space constraints you will also need to buy products pertaining to the limit of your users. This is especially true of products with a short shelf-life or FMCG goods. Also, consider the logistics you will require to distribute your goods.

Find a location for your business: The size of the space you need to hold your inventory will be determined by the size of your product and your delivery method. You should consider starting off small as your business builds a reputation. As your business grows, you can move into larger facilities that can accommodate your inventory needs.

Create a website for your business: Creating a customer friendly website is essential in today’s business model. The website should describe prices and product offerings. This is especially important if you sell directly to consumers. You can also invest in search engine optimization (SEO) that directs potential customers directly to your website by placing it higher in search engine results.

Market your product to potential customers. Send out your catalogue to potential customers in your area. The tools of marketing that you can find in today’s digitally marketed world are immense and of huge influence.

The distributorship business is very lucrative. To become a distributor in the FMCG sector, you must have an eye for spotting trends in their industry, as well as with building relationships with manufacturers and retailers. If you’re interested in becoming a distributor for the FMCG sector, you need to follow the FMCG model.

Internal Communication Measurement – Why, When and How?

When Should We Measure Communications?

Annual in depth surveys. Engagement and satisfaction surveys are typically carried out annually and can carry additional questions to provide some insights into the effectiveness of communications.

Prior to a specific communications campaign. In order to best understand the impact of communications, it is necessary to measure (awareness, attitudes, knowledge etc) before a campaign.

After a significant communication or campaign. It is important to measure the effectiveness and impact of significant communications programs and initiatives. This allows you to tailor internal communications to make sure they are effective and delivering quantifiable business value.

At intervals to track attitudes. Regular measurement helps communicators to gauge the ever shifting feelings and attitudes within an organization and to tailor messages to make sure they are appropriate to their audiences.

Pulse checks and temperature checks during and after specific events provide an insight into the issues and challenges an organization faces and to gather feedback on specific issues.

At intervals to benchmark and track against KPI’s. Measuring regularly against benchmarks and tracking trends over time provide an early warning of issues that may go undetected until they have escalated further.

What to Measure?

Determining which aspects of communication to measure will depend on the organization’s specific business and communication objectives. A few examples of useful communications measurements include:

Baseline communication measurements prior to communication can measure; existing knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of employees, as well as determining the existing information available, how easy it is to find, the current communications channels available and to identify other factors influencing attitudes and behaviors.

Functional communication measurements
Following a communication or campaign, functional aspects of communication should be measured. Comparisons to the baselines measurements are useful. Additional measures can include; the number and types of messages sent, timing of messages, message cut-through / reach, channel effectiveness and appeal, audience satisfaction with content (types, volume etc).

What to Measure – Measuring Impact

Measuring of the impact communication is a critical step and measures can include:

Audience perception measurements including factors such as; % and types of messages received, communications remembered. Were messages seen as relevant, consistent and credible? Were the messages understood? How well do employees feel they are being supported? Do employees understand exactly what needs to happen as a result of the communication(s)?

Change in Behavior
The objective of most internal communication is to change the attitudes and behaviors of employees. Therefore, it is valuable to identify and measure factors such as; What changed? Was there more or less of a behavior? What is now different?

Impact on business goals / Outcomes
Communication measurement should enable Internal Communicators to quantify the impact of communications on business objectives. For example:

  • The number of employees who signed up for share scheme (following its promotion)
  • The shift in attitudes regarding customer service and the projected impact of increased customer retention
  • The number of usable suggestions submitted via an employee suggestion initiative (and the financial value of those suggestions)

Isolating the impact of communication

Communication does not happen in a vacuum and it can sometimes be difficult to isolate the impact of communication versus other factors (incentive schemes, new product launches, factors external to the organization and so on). Possible solutions include:

  • Communications control groups ( isolating a group, such as a single remote location, and not communicating them about a specific initiative or goal, then looking at how their actions differ from groups you have communicated with)
  • Assessing the change in behavior with regard to a business goal which was communicated well, versus a business goal with little or no communication
  • Estimate the % influence of communications versus other influencing factors.

Calculating the financial value of communication

Calculations of the financial value of communication will, at best, be estimates. However, it is still an important part of communication measurement as it starts a conversation with senior managers as well and can demonstrate the enormous value of effective internal communication.

Consider the impact of an effective internal crisis communication response. A comparison can be made against a situation (internally or within a similar organization) which wasn’t handled as well, and quantifiable value attributed to factors such as:

Volume of customers retained
Retention of good staff who might otherwise have left

Tools to Assist the Measurement of Internal Communication include:

  • Desktop surveys and quizzes. Aside from in depth online or paper based surveys, pop-up desktop surveys and quizzes can provide additional measurement and benchmarking capability throughout the year.
  • Incentives. A prize incentive can encourage staff to participate in a quiz or survey.

Qualitative Communication Measurement

In addition to quantitative measures of communications effectiveness, qualitative communication measurement should also be undertaken. Qualitative techniques can include:

  • Free form answers in surveys.
  • Focus groups
  • Discussion forums. Although face-to-face interviews and focus groups are often the best option for qualitative communication measurement, internal social media can be a useful addition or substitute. Set up employee discussion forums to investigate specific issues. Monitor comments made in discussion forums to gather qualitative measures of how employees are thinking feeling and behaving

Avoiding Survey Bias

Avoiding non-response or self select bias. When surveys rely on employees to opt in or ‘self select’, you may mostly hear from the squeaky wheels or people with an agenda motivating them to participate. A desktop survey tool can provide recurrence, random sampling and escalation options to help ensure that representative internal communications measurement data is collected from across the organization.

Control groups. Set up a control groups for communications campaigns. Identify survey responses from control groups and hence to compare and assess the impact of internal communications campaigns.

Multiple select questions. For some types of questions, e.g. “Where did you hear about XXX from?” or “What factors influenced your decision” providing single answer options can skew results. In these cases, provide multi-select answer options.

Comparisons. Measure the impact of communications on people who saw a particular communications against those who didn’t.

The impact of time on recall. Recall rates will drop over time, hence if communication campaigns are to be compared with one another, communications measurement needs to be carried out at the same time period after each campaign. Ensure that communications measurement is carried out at a consistent time after each campaign.

Providing context for a quiz or survey. Context should be given for a quiz or survey. For example, a product knowledge quiz without context may cause employees to worry about the purpose of the quiz and possibly work harder to ensure they provide the correct answers. However the same quiz with an explanation “the purpose of this quiz if to see how well the communications team are doing, therefore please be as honest as possible” is more likely to provide an accurate measure of communication effectiveness.

Encouraging Survey Participation

Promoting the survey to encourage participation. The higher survey participation rates are, the more statistically accurate and relevant the results will be. Use innovative internal communications channels such as; desktop alerts, scrolling desktop feeds, screensaver messaging and user generated staff magazines to raise the profile of surveys and encourage participation.

Communicating survey findings and actions being taken. When employees believe that the outputs from staff surveys will be constructively used, they are more likely to participate. Therefore, ensure that survey results and the resulting actions being taken are well communicated to staff. Screensaver messages, newsfeeds and articles in the staff magazines are great ways get messages across without their becoming buried in email in-boxes.

How a Social Impact Calculator on Aging Can Help Your Community

Many of our communities have been involved with Community Needs Assessments, Community Health Needs Assessments, Community Economic Development Plans, and ongoing planning for the built environment. All of these planning lenses are helpful ways to look at communities, and build for the future. One of the most important lenses to use for community planning for the next 10 to 20 years is the projected impact of aging on our communities, counties and states. What will is mean for a state to move from being 39th in proportion of older adults in 2010, to being 4th by 2030? What does it mean for a county to have a population shift that includes an increase of older adults by over 100% in the next 10 years, along with a projected reduction of people under 40 years old?

Understanding the Demographic Trend

The demographic trend has been called by many names, such as the “Age Wave,” or “Silver Tsunami,” with arguments in meetings and on blogs about whether those terms are helpful or pejorative, descriptive or ageist. In addition, some people find the terms “elderly” difficult, while others find “seniors” to be patronizing. Once people have dealt with parsing the grammatical minefield, then the most important issues are to understand both the demographic trend and other substantive factors.

Although a few in the field indicate that the aging of the population is rather slow and easily absorbed, the vast majority of experts agree that this is a significant, fast-moving trend that will not be easily absorbed. Research I’ve conducted has covered everything from future health professional shortages and health system gaps to the built environment, funding and policy trends. The potential impact of the aging of our population on communities and states is significant. It will require proactive, sustained responses at community, state and national levels.

Some communities and states are better positioned to respond to this trend than others.

Impact Also Depends on a Few Other Key Factors

The ability of groups to effectively respond depends upon a number of other key factors. Although the demographic trend is the primary issue, other important factors impacting our ability to respond include the following:

  • Overall community health;
  • Poverty levels, average and median incomes (especially for middle aged and elderly);
  • Local municipal budgets, economic ratings, and taxing capacity;
  • Legislation, policies, and funding related to both aging and community development;
  • Regional infrastructure and built environment.

The impact of the demographic trend is also shaped by the state of community and regional planning already in place to deal with the impact of aging upon our communities. Leadership and citizen engagement are also important factors that could help drive and mobilize initiatives. Leaders can and should respond. The issues are complex, but not overwhelming. However, they need to be addressed proactively.

How a Social Calculator can Predict the Potential Impact of Aging for Communities and States

Many of these factors have been analyzed by our team through a number of aging related research and planning projects over the past few years. We are now completing an Aging Social Impact Calculator that can provide an initial scan of the local environment, and the state environment. It looks at key factors that shape a county’s or state’s social, economic, and community health.

Research projects that I’ve recently completed demonstrate that the Social Determinants of Health, health rankings, economic benchmarks and policy issues either help communities and states to move forward, or serve as additional challenges.

Social Determinants. The Social Determinants shape us as individuals, families and communities. They include things such as family income, jobs, poverty and financial assets. Income, assets, poverty, and unemployment have been demonstrated to be some of the most important shapers of family and community health, health disparities, and health equity. Race and ethnicity have been seen as extremely important by the World Health Organization, U.S. federal government bureaus, and the health research and funding community. Individual, family and community educational levels are also significant. Taken together, or aggregated, one finds community snapshots that reflect the local economy, jobs and poverty; racial and ethnic mix; and educational levels. They help to predict how our lives will be shaped in the future.

Community and State Health Rankings. Communities and states are rated on their overall health by many research groups. One of the key national ratings used is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJ) annual County Health Rankings and Roadmaps. They provide excellent state and county ratings based upon an analysis using more than a few dozen separate indicators. That ranking provides extremely important information to help determine whether an area faces significant health disparities and inequities. Rankings can tell planners whether community health challenges will pose additional difficulties that negatively impact the community’s ability to respond to the aging trend; or whether the positive community health will facilitate communities to implement strategies to respond. These health rankings can help inform plans that more effectively address key issues.

Economic Benchmarks. Communities are very much shaped by large and small economic trends. Short and long-term economic ratings provide a picture of community economic health. Counties and states with strong economic ratings have more ability to respond to these challenges than do those with a weak economic picture. Communities that face a loss of jobs and capital, and a diminishing tax base, are not as well positioned to respond to the Age Wave as communities that have a different economic picture.

Other factors that can also help predict the impact of the demographic trend include whether or not a region has a net population loss. Areas that are losing population also begin to lose jobs and infrastructure over time, unless this can be proactively addressed.

Laws, policies, legislative initiatives and funding priorities and strategies can also shape how well a local community or state is able to respond to this trend. Policies and funding that support economic development, the built environment, and services for older adults provide an environment that facilitates a community or county’s proactive response to this demographic trend.

The Power of Collective Impact

The combined, or collective impact of (1) demographic trends, (2) Social Determinants, (3) health rankings, (4) local and state economies, and (5) policies together shape a region’s sustainability. They also can serve as general predictors of how hard hit a community may be by the aging of the population. Taken together, these factors provide a picture of what may happen for communities, counties and states. They help us understand current and projected collective impact.

Aging Social Impact Calculator

The Aging Social Impact Calculator looks at states and counties, and provides an initial prediction about the level of impact you may expect from the aging of the population in your region. Some of the most important benchmarks that make up the predictive picture include:

  • Demographic Factors
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • County Health Ranking (Health Outcomes and Health Risk Behaviors)
  • County Economic Picture
  • Policy and Funding Framework

Working with a Predictor

Any social impact calculator has predictive capabilities. Many economic calculators have been used successfully by the World Bank, the Low Income Investment Fund, and others. The Robert Wood Johnson’s County Health Rankings and Roadmaps and state level health department profiles (like the New Mexico Community Snapshots) provide pictures of community health that capture both the present and the near future. The Aging Social Impact Calculator offers snapshots of projected impact on a community, and the community’s strengths and weaknesses in that will affect its ability to respond. It provides a helpful picture of local and state capacity, which can help leaders to choose priorities that fit their capacity to respond.

Predictors offer a holistic general picture that can serve as an important starting point for communities and states to respond to the needs of older adults. They serve as broad frameworks or roadmaps. Once a predictor profile is developed, then community leaders can look deeper into the community to:

  • Understand and address key issues;
  • Choose priorities, and create the size and scope of a response that fit community capacity;
  • Build upon community strengths and assets;
  • Reduce risks;
  • Create plans that bring stakeholders together and leverage resources.

Every state and community has its own unique assets that can be utilized to respond to this issue, which are complex, and difficult to measure with a social impact calculator. These include the rich family and social networks, community leaders, volunteers, faith communities and civic organizations that represent significant community assets.

1. The term “Age Wave” was coined by Ken Dychtwald decades ago to capture the coming demographic trend that was then on the horizon, and is now a reality.

2. Social Determinants of Health were developed by the World Health Organization, and utilized by major institutions (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Kaiser Foundation) and key research organizations throughout the U.S. to deal with community health in a holistic way.

How To Become An Effective Communicator

The ability to speak clearly, eloquently, and effectively has been recognised as the hallmark of an educated person since the beginning of recorded history. Systematic comment on communication goes back at least as far as The Precepts of Kagemni and Ptah-Hopte (3200-2800 B.C.) Under the label ‘rhetoric’, the study of the theory and practice of communication was a central concern of Greek, Roman, Medieval, Renaissance and early modern education. In the United States, rhetorical training has been a part of formal education since Harvard’s founding in 1636. It continues to be important.

Communication is a process of transferring information from one entity to another (Wikipedia).

Everything is Communication

Everything we do has something to do with communication. Often we think it is something that happens when we are talking or listening. We accept that the person hearing the information doesn’t necessarily need to be present (e.g. watching the television or listening on the radio) but we know that for communication to have taken place, something must have happened within the listener. It also has to do with understanding the intent of the person speaking and acceptance of that information or the meaning intended by the speaker.

But communication is more ubiquitous than that. Communication - the passing and receiving of information – happens within us as much as between speakers and listeners. The messages beliefs, values and stories we tell ourselves, about ourselves, is also communication. Our self-concept, what we think we are capable of, the self-talk that fills a busy mind, is all communication. This internal stream of thoughts, particularly if unchecked, confounds our openness to possibilities for change with ourselves as much as with other people. This self-talk also colours our beliefs and expectations of other people. It inhibits our ability to remain open-minded and available to others so that we truly listen and make decisions based on deep understanding or a filtered version of what we anticipate another is saying. The quality of communication also depends on the ability of the speaker to galvanise their thoughts, access sufficient vocabulary, and adapt their message to suit the audience, convey feelings as well as content, and adopt sophisticated skills to investigate social dynamics and potential conflict. Communication is as much relationship building as it is conveying of information. Communication takes place within the context of relationships: relationships with ourselves, with others, with ideologies, with belief systems and in the case of politics, with a nation or globally. So whilst communication between audiences has something to do with understanding the intent of the person speaking and acceptance of that information and its meaning, the context of relationship must always be taken into account for what is not said is as powerful as what is said. It is however, more complex which the following examples indicates.

Communication Example

Two managers work in the same organisation. Brad, a senior planner has called a meeting with Helen, the marketing manager of a medium sized PR company. The purpose of the meeting set out in the email sent is to discuss the timeline needed to launch a new product to their existing customer base. The meeting begins and Brad shares his department’s progress in finalising the product and Helen listens avidly, nodding and adding the appropriate aha’s which Brad assumes indicates that she is impressed or at least understands what he is saying. We might assume from first glance that the outcome of the meeting will be considered a success with the product soon to be launched on the market. If we had the ability to read minds however, we might find that something else is being communicated. Imagine that Helen has a strong attraction to Brad but has never expressed it, believing that workplace romance is unprofessional and probably a recipe for disaster. But alone with Brad in this meeting she finds him irresistible and during his presentation she hasn’t heard a word about the project. She thinks he likes her because the more she nods and expresses understanding, he becomes more animated, laughing and clearly pleased to be in her company. Brad, on the other hand, has a girlfriend, a successful career woman who works long hours. Because he wants to start a family, he has developed an irritation with ambitious young women who even offer to work on the weekend to finish projects. Realising however, that his quarterly performance depends on launching this product, he hides his prejudice and works hard at impressing Helen with his skills – in the boardroom that is, not the bedroom.

This simple example highlights that what is intended is not always what is heard and understood. In order to be effective communicators, we must develop sophisticated skills to check this out. But this is only a part of what makes communication effective and this is why most communication skills training often fails to deliver beyond rudimentary skills development. We must become experts at communicating with ourselves – the intended messages from within that are often hidden and yet sabotage us effectively communicating and achieving the outcomes we want – in the boardroom or the bedroom, and everywhere in-between in fact. These two aspects – inner and outer communication – when refined, create what is known as Calm Communication. This highly sophisticated process of communication is the hallmark of effective leadership and is an essential ingredient in enjoyable and highly satisfying relationships.

The cost of poor communication We only have to look around us to see the fallout of poor communication. Misunderstandings and prejudice between people, broken relationships, divorce, conflict between neighbours, resistance to organisational change, team conflict and potential war between international leaders. The most challenging part is the fallout of people’s needs not being met when they find themselves misunderstood, their message judged or criticised and the overall quality of the interaction seriously compromised. The solution is to understand that effective communication is only possible when the filters are understood and replaced with ways to challenge what we believe we are seeing and hearing with what is actually seen and heard (or intended).

How to become an effective communicator

Learning to communicate is something that naturally happens within the context of our family and socialisation. Innumerable external influences affect the extent to which that process is successful to an individual learning to communicate effectively – with themselves and other people. However, it is as if becoming an effective communicator is left to chance. Apart from having to speak publicly in exams or assessments throughout the process of education, most people learn that their communication could be improved when their relationships fail, conflict occurs with their friends or clients and opportunities are lost. Forward looking organisations invest in communication training but the emphasis on skills training alone produces limited, long-term results. The reason for this is that the person hasn’t changed on the inside. How a person feels about themself and their abilities contributes enormously to their ability to communicate effectively. At a conscious level, they may work hard to improve their confidence, their rapport-making skills and even their ability to have difficult conversations. However, they often find that they attract similar people and the same situations that keep them trapped in similar outcomes and similar relationships. This is because of hidden, unconscious factors that must be addressed or else the same patterns will continue throughout the person’s life – often leaving them bewildered as to why they keep attracting the same outcomes. It is only when skills-training is combined with overcoming and changing their internal dialogue, that a person can truly connect with others and communicate effectively rather than sabotaging their speaking or listening.

Practical ways to improve communication

Whilst learning to be an effective communicator requires a depth of internal change coupled with skills training, there are some things that can be done to immediately improve communication – in the boardroom or the bedroom – and everywhere in-between. When used, these techniques will have a positive impact on all your relationships and go some way to you achieving the results you want in your work and personal life.

1. Keep Expectations in Check Expectations serve to focus our conversations to achieve satisfactory outcomes. When working with others to achieve a goal, they are essential. However, internal expectations of others regarding how they should, ought and must act because they are part of a particular social grouping, interfere with our communication, particularly if we don’t even realise they exist. Assumptions about different social groups, nationalities, Corporate Warriors in certain blue chip companies or generational groupings must constantly be challenged to preserve the uniqueness of individuals. A good rule of thumb is to question your expectations about any group to which a person might belong and remain open-minded to how the individual you are taking to might different from that stereotype.

2. Question everything – yourself included Calm communicators have a default button that ensures they question everything on a regular basis – themselves included. They ask questions of other people to ensure that what they think they have heard is what is intended. They question their reactions and opinions on things to minimise blindspots or prejudices that filter. When they have strong reactions to what other people say, they examine themselves closely, aware that buttons may have been pushed for them. They don’t assume that their strong reactions to things are always because of strong values on a topic; new information may remind them of something or someone to whom they have a strong reaction to in the past. They become aware of their unconscious counter intentions that become apparent through interactions in everyday life and they work to remove them from their lives where they no longer serve them.

3. Share differences and set up regular times to communicate and question In both relationships and teams, a context can be set within which differences can regularly be discussed. If done in an exploratory way, it becomes an opportunity to share different perspectives and clarify misunderstandings. If we only wait until differences somehow interfere with achieving an outcome, then the conversation becomes a difficult one where the stakes are high, opinions differ and emotions are raised. Making time to discuss differences when each are not pressed to get an outcome right away, allows trust to develop in a relationship. Then when crucial conversations occur in the future, there is credit in the bank, allowing differences to be explored without conflict. When recruiting employees, attention is focused on what can or might be able to do. Great lengths are taken to correlate existing abilities and aptitudes against measures of future performance. Personality and team role types are also used to evaluate the likelihood of a person meeting the job requirements and working well within the team. However, cultural and social norms often only become apparent ‘on the job’. If a team culture is developed which encourage discussion of the meanings behind expressed and implicit values and norms, then opportunity exist for innovation and creative ways of solving problems. The same is true when recruiting a partner – becoming a calm communicator allows differences to be examined without threat, ridicule or antagonism.

4. Create new shared meanings - Anyone who has ever been in love experiences a culture of two, each person tuned to each other’s dog whistle that only the other person can hear. Alas, if the relationship ends in tears, those shared meanings somehow don’t seem to coincide. However, what was created in the union was an experience of perceived ‘we-ness’. The likelihood of the relationship continuing and being sustained over time, has a lot to do with the ability of the partners to tolerate differences that previously were not apparent in the honeymoon stage. They still might find their hearts moved by a shared song or mutually enjoyed movie, but for a healthy relationship to develop, each must realise their different identities. Likewise in organisations, the cohesiveness of a team depends on the extent to which the members uphold norms that are important to them as a group. Generational differences make team working challenging when people from different generations are trying to agree on how best to work together. These different expectations of work and life impact enormously on modern day organisational behaviour and together with high turnover and the reality of change and multiple careers over a lifetime, impact on the community which we call work. However, for all teams to work effectively there must develop a sense of ‘we’ which requires a leadership style that encouraged shared meanings that produce productive results and individual and collective satisfaction.

What Is Communication?

Communication is the currency with which we navigate our personal and professional relationships. The difference between good and bad communicators is not based on skills ability alone. When a person has a good relationship with themself and takes full responsibility for their part in creating their outer reality, they are empowered to change and improve their interactions.

By developing a self-questioning mindset that constantly asks ‘What is my part in creating what’s happening here?’ they are empowered to change something about themself rather than hope for circumstances to change or blame others for their experiences. The reason that a high level of self-awareness is essential in effective communication is that there are hidden, unconscious factors that influence our behaviour as much (if not more) than conscious ones.

This is evident when a person realises that they keep attracting similar outcomes in their life and where similar games, dances and dynamics keep playing out in their life which they feel powerless to change. Without changing one’s internal dialogue, challenging the inner saboteur and finding the source of one’s destructive, self-sabotaging behaviour, a person is doomed to get similar outcomes – regardless of whether those outcomes assist them in getting the results they want.

Becoming an effective communicator is only possible when skills-training is combined with a person developing an on-going ability to be self-reflective, take responsibility and in every conversation, see their part in creating the results they get. When these abilities are combined, they directly contribute to a person achieving the relationships they want as well as making them powerful communicators who have impact and influence on others.

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