Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Over-Communicate the Mission

Nearly every Mission: Impossible episode began Phelps briefing them on their mission.  Why was it important to do this?  Jim Phelps cared deeply about his people and knew that the best way to have then be successful in the mission was for them all to know and understand the mission…the whole mission, not just their little sliver of it.  He never knew when he or any one of the other team members might be hurt or arrested during the mission and everyone needed to know and understand the specific missions of everyone else in the team so that they could pick up the slack should one person stumble or fall.

He took the time to go over every detail so that each person was comfortable with what the goal was, how their actions helped ensure victory, what was going on around them and what contingency plans had been made. He answered their questions and stayed with them until everyone was comfortable with their understanding of the larger task at hand.  Hearing this level of planned detail helped assure each Team member that the plan was sound.  It wasn’t enough that Phelps knew the mission… the entire Team needed to see the big picture to ensure success.

At your utility, it’s not enough for you to be the grand puppet master and the only one to know the whole picture.  If you want your entire team to be successful in the long run, they need to understand how their part of the mission supports every other part of the mission.  They must see where they fit into the bigger picture.  How the mission of your utility is NOT to have a maintenance department…or a pump operation.  It’s to serve customers in such a way that they see and deeply appreciate your value over the long haul. 

It is important that your people understand the mechanics of the big picture.  For instance, if they want a pay raise, it is important to know that customers fund this with their bill.  Unhappy customers can raise enough objections to stop a rate increase dead in its tracks and can, therefore, stop the funding mechanism of a pay raise.  This is why remarkable customer service is so important to even the most junior field worker at your utility.  Don’t they deserve to know this important fact?  Have you taken the time to explain this to them or are you just assuming that they know?

If you truly care about your people and truly care about winning, you will take the time to over-communicate the mission in detail with YOUR team.   

ACTION:  Use every opportunity to communicate the big picture to your people.  Ensure that they understand their role in your overall success.

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