Communication & Candour is one of the three key behaviours of performing teams (the others are Trust & Vulnerability and Commitment & Accountability).
It helps to think of communication in three dimensions:
1. Who needs to be aware of this information?
2. Who’s input, feedback and collaboration do we need?
3. What approvals do I need to move forward?
1. FYI – FOR YOUR INFORMATION
Information in any team needs to be fluid. The only constraint is appropriateness.
Appropriateness refers to what must be communicated and to whom?
Sometimes too much information can be inefficient, even dangerous, Whilst too little can be ineffective. It is also crucial that the right people are informed.
We often hear, “How would I know? I just work here”. Sarcastic and hopeless – a distress signal that intelligence is not circulating in a team.
Sharing information is about honesty. It requires thinking about others. Getting them up to speed. #Honesty
2. FYF – FOR YOUR FEEDBACK
Hard work mandates collaboration. It is premised on the fact that we don’t have all the answers—perhaps not even the right questions. Team performance thrives on seeking to complement our weaknesses with the strengths of others.
Successful teams normalise the habit of constantly seeking feedback, comments, advice, insights and input from relevant members.
Feedback is about synchronous engagement to find the best way forward.
It reduces blind spots. It challenges paradigms. #HardWork
3. FYC – FOR YOUR CONSENT
Often, in teams, seeking consent – approvals and sign-offs – is necessary.
Consent is less about hierarchy and bureaucracy as much as it is about stress-testing a decision. It is about humbly putting one’s thinking, decision-making and pursuits at the feet of others. Consent reduces failure.
For agility and empowerment, it is essential that teams delegate authority so consent is calibrated to the individual’s ability and function – thereby not stifling performance.
We have modelled the Three F’s for years, and many of our clients successfully use them in their operations.
Some use the acronyms FYI, FYF and FYC in the email subject line giving the recipient clarity on the content. For example, an FYC indicates someone is waiting for consent – so it may have a higher level of importance and urgency than an FYI.
Moving from purpose to performance – ACTION
The fourth F
4. FYA – FOR YOUR ACTION
It doesn’t matter which way you’re headed if you are not moving forward. Therefore, all things must end with action.
FYA – is not quite about communication as it is about getting things done.
A fourth F to add to the above protocols.