How Bad Is Our Communication?

Bad Communication

If one of the most leading causes of expensive mistakes in the corporate realm is from bad communication skills (it is) then why don’t business leaders invest in training their people to have good communication skills (which they don’t).

Medicine understands that if you diagnosing a problem is only half the battle to curing it. Once a problem is identified, one must delve deep into the roots of the problem to discover what causes it. To cure a problem is like weed control – you attack the weeds at the roots. During the past 25 years I have run communication exercises with thousands of doctors and I’m embarrassed for my colleagues to admit that those with the highest levels of education typically have the lowest functional levels of communication. So if bad communication is endemic throughout society and if the most educated among us are guilty of this malady, then why are more efforts made to cure the problem at the root level, i.e. by training our workforces to communicate effectively?

Perhaps its because most business leaders fail to understand just how bad the lack of good communication is.

Or perhaps business leaders think that not having good communication isn’t all that bad.

Part of the problem with dysfunctional communication is that language changes and evolves as its influenced by sociological changes. A good example of how a change in language is bad, occurred in 1987 with the release of a record album by one of the most influential pop singers of all time. This album won two Grammy awards, had an unprecedented five #1 hits and went platinum in countries all over the world ultimately becoming one of the top thirty biggest selling albums in history. What does the release of this global best-seller have to do sociological influence on the use of language? In a word, this album was…

Bad.

And Bad was good. Maybe it was not quite as good as his previous mega-hit album Thriller, but the success of Bad was so good, that it launched Jackson into the realm of super-stardom by selling close to 30 million copies.

And it also taught an entire generation that if something was really good, it was really bad. But good things didn’t stay bad for long, because by the end of the 1990’s the good things (or bad things depending on your generation) evolved into becoming “righteous”. Yet this misnomer was doomed to be short lived because by the time the new millennium was ushered in, the good/bad things that were once considered righteous were soon to be consider “wicked”.

If any leader fails to recognize the importance of equipping their people with strong communication skills, especially in a society where good becomes bad and then righteous becomes wicked in a span of less than twenty years, then all I can think to do is to wish them…

Bad luck.

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