Not a stock photo. This is an actual Facilitator on Fire client.

In the first two articles in this series, I introduced the idea that workplace dynamics are the cause of communication struggles and I gave you my simple 3-step process to set clear expectations so you can follow through, take massive action – and be successful! If you missed it, or if you’d like a refresher, here are the steps again:

Step 1: Notice the gaps in your information.

 Step 2: Ask for three essential pieces of information: What is the goal or task?; Who is responsible?; and When is it due? 

 Step 3: Share the information with your colleagues. 

If that seems too simple or unrealistic to you, I’d like to tell you about one of my clients, Chet, and his organization.

Chet’s (not his real name) team wanted to begin opening branch campuses of their large centralized organization. But they had identified a major problem: their decision-making process was being obstructed by their hierarchy. They had made it to Step 1 of the expectation-setting process: they noticed gaps in their information everywhere they turned. Yet they struggled to get past this step in order to create action.

Because they couldn’t be sure who was in charge or who had final authority, mid-level managers had developed a troubling habit of second-guessing their supervisors. Instead of asking a supervisor for clear answers, team members would seek additional input from more senior members of the staff. All of those second opinions would “prove” that the immediate supervisor had been wrong in the initial decision. Not surprisingly, the teams became paralyzed, unable to distinguish between mistakes and productive strategic actions.

As we worked together, I helped them uncover what was really going on. We talked through the problem, and they learned to stop blaming each other. We then created a set of specific, but simple, questions they had permission to ask – no matter their job title or rank – to help them create action and find the answers they needed.

A year after our work together, the teams and leaders in Chet’s organization are still communicating clearly and taking action. Their team members ask for information when it’s needed, they know who has authority to make decisions, and they respect the decision-making hierarchy. Chet told me that the work we did together has been especially helpful at the senior executive level – even their annual retreat was incredibly productive and helpful to the organization. Best of all, they are seeing real results from creating real accountability and action. They are well on their way to opening their third campus!

Are you ready to create clear communication and generate action for successful outcomes? Are you eager to experience what success could feel like when you agree on what it’s supposed to be, and you make real forward progress instead of jumping up and down energetically in place? Schedule a free Breakthrough Strategy Session with me now.

During your Breakthrough Strategy Session, I will guide you to see your gaps, as well as discover your dreams, reveal resistance, find those challenges that are blocking your success, and chart your own massive action strategy.

If you are hesitating to schedule a Breakthrough Strategy Session with me, I want you to know you’re not alone. I hear a lot about objections to talking to a stranger about why you are stuck. Here’s what I hear most often:

“I don’t have the budget for this.” This one is the easiest of all, actually, because a Breakthrough Strategy Session is free. By “free,” I mean: this will cost you no money. Just an hour or so of your time.

 “My teams have too many different communication styles for this to work.” I believe that you have a lot of communication styles, but I challenge the idea that it must prevent clear communication. If you want to take action, you must create clear standards for communicating – and you can’t afford not to.

 “Our leadership team won’t be interested.” I’d like to hear more about why your leadership does not want you to receive the gift of a FREE Breakthrough Strategy Session. It is likely to lead to clear communication and massive action. Seriously, I want to hear from you. Please email me right away so we can find a time to talk!

“This communication problem is just our culture.” Chet thought the culture in his 25-year-old organization would prevent clear communication, too. But look what they have accomplished in just one year!

Kay Coughlin, CEO of Facilitator On Fire, is a business coach for the non-profit sector and social justice businesses. She is also well-known for being an advocate for family caregivers.

In every forum she can find, she shouts that it's OK for every human to earn a living, set and enforce boundaries around their bodies, thoughts, feelings and actions. You can join Kay's free, private online community to talk about boundaries here.

Kay also teaches about emotional labor, how to rest, and Human Giver Syndrome, and is the host of the "From One Caregiver to Another" podcast and author of "From One Caregiver to Another - Overcoming Your Emotional Grind."

Kay is well-known for her public speaking on boundaries and self-care. 

Facilitator on Fire is a subsidiary of Donor Relations Mindset LLC, which Kay founded in 2015. She lives with her husband and children in central Ohio, and is the primary caregiver for her own mother, who lives right next door. Kay can be found on LinkedIn and Instagram.

Copyright 2022. All rights reserved, Julia Kay Coughlin and Facilitator On Fire.

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