Before you can solve a problem, you have to understand it… And you can’t understand it if you are not sure what the words mean. When we are kids, we think simple and we talk simple. As we grow older, we start learning bigger and bigger words. Some of us are reluctant to ask for clarification for fear of appearing ignorant or unprepared. And sometimes we hide behind complicated language which disguises what we really mean.

Often we don’t make the effort to speak specifically—and in simple language. Ever hear the phrase “our biggest problem is communication”. Everybody in the world says this. But what does this mean in your situation?

  • The phones don’t work?
  • People don’t care what people in other departments are doing?
  • Senior management does not pass down information?
  • People send unclear email messages?
  • We don’t know the company goals?
  • We do not trust each other?

Watch out when people say “Oh, we all know what that means”. This is a clear signal that they don’t, and a lot of wasted time is in store for you. What we say represents what we think…and if the words are fuzzy, then the thinking is fuzzy.

This week’s Minsight:
Leaders can draw silent team members out; make it safe to share what they are thinking. Leaders can model the power of simple thinking when they find themselves un sure if a question they want to ask is a good one or silly, by taking the risk to ask it any way. Surprise! Half the group breathes a sigh of relief because they were thinking the same thing but have been afraid to ask! if no one asks these questions, we are likely to miss a vital piece of information or hidden idea.