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Why Lack of Communication Causes Project Teams to Fail

As the workforce becomes more and more specialised, team-based projects have become crucial to running an efficient business. If you’ve ever been in a project team, then you’re probably already laughing at the word ‘efficient’. Most people’s experiences would include insufficient resources, unrealistic deadlines and a chaotic schedule that leaves them wondering just what’s going on.

What’s going wrong?

The rapid growth of technology has made the transmitting of information easier and faster than ever before. People are swamped by more information than they can handle. It should be no surprise that adding more data to this pile isn’t helping. And yet that’s exactly what we do at the start of every project, dumping more information on team members and hoping that they’ll be able to work out what’s important to them. And then they’re expected to provide the right information back to the project lead to create an accurate plan? Somethings got to give, and sadly that’s normally the deadline.

Communication is the key

The truth of the matter is that most of these problems can be traced back to a lack of clear, concise communication. Sound too simple? Then consider this: a survey by HR magazine found 46% of employees said that they receive unclear directions from bosses and managers AT LEAST THREE TIMES PER DAY. How can a project run smoothly when the key team members don’t have a clear direction? How can you create meaningful project milestones with appropriate deadlines if the team doesn’t fully understand what they’re meant to be doing?

And the pain for organisations doesn’t stop at failed project delivery. A 2004 study linking business performance to communication showed that business with effective communications strategies had a 50% lower employee turnover rate.

What can you do?

Learning to communicate effectively is the number one priority to get things back on track. By setting up the right expectations at the beginning of a project and providing the right details to the right people, the information that comes back from team members is much more reliable. Maintaining this level of communication during the project reduces nasty surprises and ensures everyone knows what’s required to get it done.

Communication skills training can teach people to craft and deliver better presentations. Not only that, it’s about connecting with people, which is something not all of us do naturally. That ability to relate and resonate can make or break your career. Managers can better motivate employees. Team members can convey the right information to their leaders to ensure a project’s success. They learn to think about who they’re talking to and what matters to that audience.

Train your leaders to be fantastic communicators so they can lead a happy and productive team. Train your staff to be fantastic communicators so they can pass on critical information that doesn’t get lost in the clutter. The better these lines of communication are, the more likely your project teams are to deliver on time and on budget.

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