How Clear Are Your Communications With Others?

This has probably happened to you – you think your idea through and present it to others but, somehow, what you thought was crystal clear isn’t received as such and the results are less than expected.

Don’t worry. It happens to everybody, and hopefully less as time goes on.

But how does this happen and how can you change it? Because, in today’s world, the importance of a clear message has never been greater.

Here at Forte, we find that a clear message has two key elements. First, each of us is responsible for bringing as much clarity as possible to communication, whether it be verbal, written or visual. Secondly, it takes a true assessment of our listening skills, because that ultimately determines how we perceive what we have been presented.

Both are skills that, more often than not, we learn through real-life experiences of what has worked and what hasn’t. To succeed in life, we definitely want to rack up more successes as our communication with others evolves. The Forte Communication Style report is your first step to begin successfully communicating. Click here to get your complimentary report, which takes less than 10 minutes to complete and provides immediate results.

Some may say that good communication skills are only reserved for those lucky naturally charismatic individuals. Yet, even charismatic people will have stories to share about those times their message did not resonate, was misunderstood or – and this is where the listening skills come in – the recipient simply did not agree with the message.

This was one of the challenges in developing the Forte Communication Style Profile. How could we minimize – and hopefully, eliminate – the likelihood of miscommunication, because although the individual had worked hard to achieve clarity of the message, it was misperceived by the recipient.

Therefore, it comes down to perception. You have probably heard the saying, Perception is reality. That rings true, whether that reality be an experience, a message, a background, a methodology, a native language in a global world or simply a state of mind.

When we look at the Forte Communication Style Profile, we see three very different dimensions of actionable information. There is the individual’s Primary Profile – or who that person is – and how the individual is currently adapting to the specified environment over the most recent 30-day period. These two patterns are the result of self-perception, since they are the result of an individual’s own responses on the Forte surveys.

The third profile is the Perceiver Profile, which shares how the individual is most likely coming across to others in the current timeframe. It is based on observed behavior, meaning it is the product of feedback from others.

Ultimately, this is the potential point of miscommunication – an individual adapting to a certain environment a certain way but being perceived differently.

The good news is that once this is known, Forte offers a Communication Style Strategy (CSS) for the individual to use over the next 30 days to close that gap. With the ability to get Forte Adapting Updates as often as every 30 days, proactively utilizing the CSS strategy over a period of time will minimize the potential for miscommunication.

We have mentioned before that the best communicator is the best listener, and utilizing this Forte Technology to get your message across also enhances your listening skills.

If you would like to take advantage of this technology yourself, there are instructions at the top of this article that direct you to the Forte website. Try it, and we would love to hear your feedback.

Hiring The Right Salesperson…The First Time

You have likely heard the mantra, “Nothing happens until somebody sells something,” before. This holds true, whether it is a product or service, professional expertise or social entrepreneurship.

You can even extend this into government when elected officials “sell” improvements to the residents (aka taxpayers) of a municipality or state. The taxpayer “buys in” and pays taxes. The sale was made. The check clears the bank.

So, after four decades of helping organizations identify the respective strengths of their sales personnel, we have learned a thing or two.

Here are our basic rules for finding the best salesperson:

  • Above all else, the top-performing salesperson really needs to believe in the product or service he or she provides.
  • The right person must be competent in support of that product or service, as no amount of coaching will overcome an inadequate skill set.

What we find the vast majority of the time is the answers to what drives our client’s top performers are right before our very eyes. As you think about your organization, there are likely some individuals in sales – granted, other positions as well – whose performance comes to mind as something you would like to instill across the greater sales team.

Forté has a rich history of identifying and understanding those communication styles and behaviors that drive top performance:

Step 1: Ask top performers to complete their Forte Communication Style Survey

In this specific instance, we ask the top-performing sales personnel to complete their Forté Adapting Survey regarding “how my customer expects me to act in the close.” In professional services, it could be “how my patients expect me to act,” etc.

Usually, the top performers fall within the top 20 percent of the sales team. From here, we can aggregate the results of a number of top performers to form a “Top Performing” profile for use in recruiting, onboarding and coaching potential performers on the team.

Now that we have this information, we move to the next phase.

Step 2: Build the existing sales team to higher levels of performance.

Salespeople want to achieve. Their success clearly impacts their income and career. We find them very open to coaching or adapting strategies they know have been validated from their team, instead of some cookie-cutter process completed on a national level across a very broad scope of salespeople that may or may not even come close to the product or service they are selling. The buy-in to the process is significant.

Step 3: The Forté Performance Coaching process continues to reinforce existing top performers on how they are adapting to their customer/consumer so they continue to improve. We may also find an updated adapting/coaching strategy that is more effective.

This is not a “once-then-done” endeavor. Life goes on and as the organization grows, new opportunities for improvement present themselves. We can provide Forté Adapting Updates as often as every 30 days to stay in touch with evolving trends and maintain performance ahead of the curve versus falling behind it.

It’s like the old adage, “A rising tide raises all ships” – that’s exactly what we do.

If increasing your revenue is of interest, we would be happy to share specific examples with you and discuss how hiring the right salesperson the first time supports the ongoing growth of your business.

Coaching Hand Up graphic

Coaching to Success

I nodded my head continuously as I read through an article by Monique Valcouat at The Harvard Business Review titled “You Can’t Be a Great Manager If You’re Not a Good Coach.” 

(Note: We’re proud to say The Harvard Business School is a Forté client.)

 

Here’s an excerpt from that article I think every leader should read:

 

“If you have room in your head for only one nugget of leadership wisdom, make it this one: the most powerfully motivating condition people experience at work is making progress at something that is personally meaningful. If your job involves leading others, the implications are clear: the most important thing you can do each day is to help your team members experience progress at meaningful work.

To do so, you must understand what drives each person, help build connections between each person’s work and the organization’s mission and strategic objectives, provide timely feedback, and help each person learn and grow on an ongoing basis.

Regular communication around development — having coaching conversations — is essential. In fact, according to recent research, the single most important managerial competency that separates highly effective managers from average ones is coaching.”

 

If you’re a leader, it’s great to see these clear, prioritized, research-based objectives for your role. But if you’re like most leaders, at the same time, you feel somewhat uneasy with this.

 

You make decisions about products, purchases and budgets, you keep your team working on task, you deliver quality on schedule, but are you confident you are actually developing your team?

 

Do you know what drives each person? Can you help them best relate to each other, or adapt to workplace demands? Are you coaching them to produce meaningful work for your company, in authentic ways?

 

Forté can help.

Coaching Hand Up graphic 

 

Q: How can I understand what drives each person on my team?

 

A: Give them each the Forté Communication Style Profile survey. It helps both them and you understand their communication style, leadership style, self-motivators, de-motivators, and much more.

 

You’ll both receive a copy of their profile results and it will certainly reveal what drives them—as well as how they are currently adapting on the job, and how they are most likely being perceived by the team at this time.

 

Q: How do I provide timely feedback to my team members?

 

A: Coaching is not a once-then-done process, neither is Forté. Your team can take the short, automated Forte Adapting Update survey as often as every 30 days, or at intervals of your choosing.

 

This Adapting survey will instantly reveal how they’ve been adapting to their work demands and environment – both recently and over time. You’ll both be able to see how well they believe they’re currently meeting their goals, feeling resilient in the face of challenges and change, and more.

 

You can use this report as a jumping off point for a regular coaching conversation with your direct reports. You don’t have to remember to administer this survey, it can be delivered to their email inbox automatically at the prescribed intervals.

 

Q: How do I know the best way to communicate with those I am coaching?

 

A: Once the Forté Communication Style survey is completed, you can run Forté Interaction Reports between you and each of your team members. This tool shows both of you how to best to communicate with, and adapt to, one another.

You will know how to talk so they they will listen. Forté is all about recognizing each other’s strengths, and building productive relationships that last.

 

Q: How do I help my team members reach goals and improve on an on-going basis?

 

A: Utilize the Forté Performance Coaching report. One of our exciting new tools, this simplifies and codifies the coaching process for you and your team.

 

Each coachee receives pre-session questions to prepare them for your coaching session. You receive a coaching strategy, checklist, and plan that is in line with each team member’s main strengths and motivators as revealed by their Forté profile.

 

You’ll be guided and empowered like never before to specifically coach each team member to top performance.

 

Often, coaching is the difference between a leader who gains commitment from their employees and one who only gains compliance.

 

Regular communication around your team members’ development is essential. Make a plan to have consistent coaching conversations with your team.

 

Call or email The Forté Institute today to explore how we can help you coach your team or organization to excellence.

 


The Forté Institute’s Rachel Olsen is a Communication Studies faculty member at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She is a communication specialist and a trained and certified coach. 

 

The One Call Cure

Today we have a  guest post by Forté client Vince Racioppo of the Center for Expert Performance.

I had a terrific experience with the Forte tool while working with a distribution center management team for a large organization (400,000+ employees). The vice president in charge of the center told me that the team was having difficulty, that communications had deteriorated and people were not getting along well. He asked if I could help him restore the teamwork and camaraderie to the way it was.

Using the Forte Communications Survey, I created an interaction report for every member of the group. After they selected their motivators and de-motivators from their survey, we broke the group into pairs and assigned each to discuss the best way to work with and motivate one another based on the Forte recommendations.

I’ll never forget one extraordinary discussion between a person who had high dominance and another who had high extroversion. The high extrovert of course wanted to talk in every encounter with the high dominant. The high dominant wanted simply to move on with business and felt that the extrovert was wasting his time. In turn the extrovert felt as though the high dominant did not like him. Once they understood their communication style differences, they experienced an “ah-ha” moment realizing that their discomfort was simply due to different styles and that they could adapt their communication to accommodate each other’s needs.

The remainder of the group had similar experiences. Because our time was limited, we could only pair off twice so the group decided that the team members would, on their own, meet in pairs to discuss their Forte results.

After 30 days, the vice president called me and said that the group had turned around completely. They once again were experiencing the fun and teamwork that they had previously. As a consultant, we rarely have a “one call cure” but in this case it actually happened!

 – Vince Racioppo, Center for Expert Performance, Inc.

www.expertperformance.com (847) 831 3182

The Forté Communication Profile Survey helps teams understand that communication differences do not have to create performance barriers.