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Good conversation as an aid to productivity

The basic idea is simple yet requires effort: communication is always a challenge, even for multinational companies. Saying things, above all saying them clearly, means being involved, every time, yet is also necessary in companies, big or small. Talking to one other is required in order to work better, produce more efficiently and, in the end, increase revenues and number of jobs. In fact in a complex society such as the one where companies operate today one of the key tools for improving corporate management, and above all end results, appears to be that of effective, serious, constructive and productive communication. This is easy in small firms but more difficult in larger ones.

An analysis of “conversational leadership” and the possible modes of application has been made by Carmen Nobel (senior editor for Harvard Business School Working Knowledge) who, in a short article, (The Power of Conversational Leadership), covers in depth the essential aspects of the issue, basing on the study by Talk, Inc: How Trusted Leaders Use Conversation to Power Their Organizations by Boris Groysberg (lecturer at Harvard Business School) and Michael Slind (communication consultant to numerous multinational companies).

Both article and book go into depth regarding the theoretical and practical aspects of the issue. Also basing on paradoxical situations: in many cases the company has a managerial group which is decided about the corporate strategy to be adopted, but investigations within the organisation reveal that nobody else has the slightest idea of what to do.

Carmen Nobel therefore supports the idea of “conversational leadership”, to be applied to all the processes of a company. How? Action is possible on the basis of four principles which obviously have to be accepted by management: the creation of “mental intimacy” (i.e. concordance of ideas and principles of action), the generation of ongoing interaction, the enabling of effective inclusion in the conversation of all the members of the organisation and clear representation of the objectives towards which the entire company is working. With one basic truth – productive conversation represents a competitive edge for the company.

The Power of Conversational Leadership

Carmen Nobel

Harvard Business School Working Knowledge.

July 2012