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Tools of the Trade

A Communication Toolbox - Part 2

A Brief Introductory Note: A Two-Part Article

This article is part 2 of 2 focusing on common communication challenges experienced by teams along with a toolbox of concepts, models, and practices to address those challenges. This article will expand the toolbox by focusing on concepts along with management tools and processes to improve communication within teams, especially in environments with high stress or uncertainty. Additionally, several of the tools will explore team engagement and delegation as forms of communication. Many of these tools can and should be used in conjunction with one another.

If you haven’t read it, part 1 focuses on describing the nature of “fog and friction” in our work environments, how both can impact our teams and organizations, and two cultural tools leaders can employ to dramatically reduce both fog and friction (mission orientation and psychological safety). This article builds on the concepts previously outlined in part 1.

Concept: Diseconomies of scale in communication
(bigger isn’t always better)

What is it?

Many people are familiar with the concept of “economies of scale,” that costs/tradeoffs are reduced as the scale of an operation/production grows, but far fewer consider the opposite implication of the concept – diseconomies of scale. While the efficiency of many things improve with scale, say for example the cost to produce one widget by hand opposed to manufacturing it, size and scale also brings significant tradeoffs that are rarely recognized (see fragilizing nature of size). One of the most consistent tradeoffs when it comes to size is related to communication channels.

Image showing a sharp upward trend of communication channels as team size increases
Quick note: If you’re curious, the equation to calculate communication channels is (n(n-1))/2.

The basic chart above communicates a simple principle – the number of communication channels we need to manage explodes as our teams grow.  A team of 5 has a manageable number of channels (10), a team of 10 has quite a bit more (45), and teams of 200 are in mind-numbing territory (19,900 channels). When you consider that information is constantly being exchanged along those communication lines and all the potential opportunities for miscommunications (see part 1 of this article), you may come to appreciate the fact that we’re able to get anything done at all.

With this big picture in mind, it is easy to see how organizational/team size can make effective communication difficult. Size means the message needs to travel farther – so we experience a loss of fidelity and clarity in our message (like a bad television signal). The more people the message travels through the more it gets interpreted and changed (think telephone game). Finally, as the pulse of information flows through the organization, we encounter even more opportunities for us to “be reading the same book but from a different page” (updated memo, post-meeting decisions, leadership pivots, etc).

What to do about it?

Being aware that size brings drawbacks in addition to benefits is a critical first step. Recognizing these challenges as inherent and natural, opposed to representing some disfunction, allows us to anticipate them and take action. Aside from broad recommendations around effective communication outlined in this article, there are a few concrete actions that I often find effective.

First, the most obvious solution is what people naturally do – make groups of groups. While it would be completely unrealistic to directly manage communication on all tasks for an organization of 200 people (19,900 communication channels), it is far easier to manage communication between 10 teams of 20 people (45 intergroup channels). By creating groups of groups, we reduce our number of channels to manage by shifting the communication from individual-to-individual to group-to-group.  This is very similar to the concept of managing span of control during disaster response. Creating the right sized teams, organizational structure, and internal processes is highly contextual and a topic worth several articles in and of itself – suffice to say judgement and skill is required.

That being said, there are several challenges we can expect to occur with this strategy. Given that information is flowing through gatekeepers (group leads or liaisons), we can expect information to be interpreted and lose fidelity as it is passed along. Creating supporting resources (eg: strategy document, 1-page overviews, etc) can help reduce those challenges as can supporting communications (email blasts, town halls, etc). Furthermore, you can encourage an environment of information sharing by setting expectations with leaders around what should be shared when, rewarding those that raise useful information (even if its bad news), and creating opportunities for individuals to share through informal channels as well as formal ones. An environment should be set for people to ask questions, raise, concerns, and clarify intent up and down the chain of command. Other strategies and tools discussed in these articles can further assist with these challenges.

Secondly, consider a spectrum of engagement when defining problems, developing solutions, and communicating direction to the team. Further down in this article we’ll discuss the delegation continuum which can help leaders evaluate the ideal level of engagement given the task/topic/challenge at hand. This includes everything from a one-way briefing (“this is how it is”) to bringing the team in at the ground level (“let’s define the problem together”). This concept deserves its own section, but I wanted to highlight its importance to managing team size here. Two core principles here are right-sizing and the right timing. In terms of size, my general principle is to keep the group as small as possible while including the right expertise or decision-makers (communication channels in mind). If you’ve ever tried to make a decision with a large group of people, you understand the importance of right sizing. In terms of the right time, we need to consider how much space we give our teams to understand problems, generate solutions, and implement decisions. Frequently, leaders fail to consider and give their teams the proper amount of decisional space. We’ll explore this concept in more detail below- it is incredibly useful for fostering effective communication and decision-making amongst “teams of teams”.

Lastly, is the concept of communication processes and tempo – how we establish the “heartbeat” of the organization. Effective management of this heartbeat is critical for reducing friction and fog. There is no broad right answer here. The heartbeat should look different depending on the organization, people involved, and the current demands in front of them. As with the other concepts, in a separate section further down we’ll explore how to establish communication process and tempo (heartbeat) to effectively support your teams.

Tool: Bottom Line Up Front
(more signal, less noise please)

What is it?

Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF) is a simple communication practice of putting the core information “up front” opposed to having a conclusion follow an introduction-background-analysis-recommendation style format (like an SBAR). While it originated in military use, it has become a tool I use for day-to-day communications as well as disaster response work. I believe BLUF is effective because it recognizes a core principle in our modern world; people do not have enough time or attention to read and consider everything that everyone else would like them to. I cannot recall an instance where I worked with a colleague or executive that felt they had enough time or attention to give to all the people and problems that needed it. The simple reality is time and attention are an extremely precious resource that should be managed – and respected. BLUF does just that.

Opposed to asking our readers to go through mountains of context, details, history, and backgrounds, we give them the information up front. At the risk of being too meta, here is what BLUF could look like for this section:

Bottom Line Up Front: BLUF is a communication method that prioritizes key information the reader needs to know to either be aware of and/or make a decision about. It communicates only the essential information, often supplemented by bullet points or further contextual reading below and is designed to respect the reader’s limited time and attention.  BLUF should include a clear ask or an indication that it is FYI only.

      • BLUF statements can be supported by bullet points; remember to be aware of signal to noise and keep it concise. 3-5 bullet points is ideal (if any) and the sentences should be kept short.
      • Bullets are often critical core details such as asks/requirements, risks, key historical or contextual details, or specific features of the proposed solution/strategy.
      • Bullets may also point to further reading/information should the individual want a deep dive on a specific topic.
How to use it?

The above example can be used as a template for BLUF communications, but it is also easy to develop it from scratch. The BLUF statement should be – at most – a short paragraph that is supported by a few simple bullets. This means you’ll only be able to include the core information for the reader along with the ask (if there is one). If your BLUF is a page long, you’ve likely gone too far. Don’t over think this tool or be too rigid – instead care more about the core concept this approach is about; respecting the time and attention of those we collaborate with. Obviously, some topics and individuals will need more context and background than others.

We can also take this concept into our communications more broadly. Even if we’re not preparing a formal “BLUF,” we can be sure to reduce fluff/noise, raise critical information to the top of our communications, and make our asks clear and specific. Have you ever had an email you had to re-read three or four times to understand what they were asking for, if anything? How about an ask that comes through with little to no context (intended outcome, deadline, etc) that you need to spend three rounds of “back and forth” clarifying? A “BLUF” approach helps us consider both what information is critical to leave out and critical to include. By placing ourselves in the reader’s place and asking “what do they really need to know?,” we respect the time and attention of those we work with. A BLUF approach is one concise, effective way to do that.

Tool: Leader’s Intent
(no micro-managing here)

What is it?

Leader’s Intent is an incredibly powerful tool for leaders for both communication and delegation; there is rarely a project or response where I’m not deliberately applying the concept either as a leader or a team member. Aside from being powerful, it is extremely simple and easy to implement. It has three basic components:

    1. Task: What needs to be done? What is the objective of the assignment?
    2. Purpose: Why does this need to be done? What is the purpose of accomplishing the work?
    3. End-state: How should it look in the end? What does success look like?

The goal of this approach is to 1.) clearly communicate the intended outcome/vision of a specific task or project, and 2.) empower individuals and teams to advance towards those goals. By clearly communicating what needs to be done and the objective (Task), we outline the intended boundaries of the work and the direction we’d like to go. By communicating why it needs to be done (Purpose), we help our teams understand the meaning behind our work (motivation) while simultaneously building a vision for the intended outcome (outcome should align with purpose). By describing how it should look in the end (End-state), we help our teams understand what the finish line should look like without telling them how to build the car or drive it down the road.

These few simple items can have a profound effect on clarifying intent and empowering teams. Outside of collectively understanding the broad direction and intended finish line, this approach allows us to effectively delegate the development of solutions to our teams. With this approach, you’re not telling your teams how to get there – you’re just clearly defining where they’re trying to go and how they’ll know they’ve arrived once they’re there. Instead, they are empowered to consider the best route (strategy/solution) to get to the finish line (goal/objective) that best aligns with their expertise, skills, knowledge, and judgement.

How to use it?

This tool is as simple as it is powerful which makes implementation relatively painless. As a leader, I strongly recommend you can clearly define each of the three items before communicating or delegating around any major/important task. If you cannot define these items for yourself, your teams are likely not going to be able to read your mind and do so either. While deliberately using Task/Purpose/End-state is an effective approach, it doesn’t need to be done so explicitly and if your communication includes these pieces in some way feel free to adapt to your own personal style (but be aware of fluff/noise). As you use this approach, you’ll likely notice that your skill and speed in developing leader’s intent improves and your team will likely become accustomed to the approach as well. In general, outside of practicing this approach, my broad advice is to lean towards simpler and empowering opposed to complicated and restrictive when developing intent.  If you are struggling with leader’s intent particularly around problem identification, it may be a good signal that you should engage your team to shape leader’s intent through a problem identification process – more on that in the delegation continuum section of this article.

Lastly, as a team member this tool has just as much utility. While I don’t always use these terms, when a task comes my way or a project gets spun up, I nearly always ask clarifying questions along the lines of leader’s intent. What are we trying to achieve here – what is the explicit goal or objective? Why are we doing it – what is the “big picture” purpose? How should it look when we’re done? What does success look like? These simple questions are powerful when it comes to reducing fog and friction as work begins.

Tool: Delegation Continuum
(dose makes medicine or poison)

What is it?

Image of modified Tannenbaum and Schmidt Continuum which shows a range of management styles with some using more authority and others giving more freedom

Continuing the theme of effective engagement and delegation as forms of communication, above is a modified version of the Tannenbaum and Schmidt Continuum – a decision-making and delegation continuum developed by Robert Tannenbaum and Warren Schmmidt. This simple model depicts the relationship between a manager’s use of authority and the freedom to decide/operate of their teams. Further to the left represents a greater use of management authority while a shift to the right represents more empowerment of subordinates. Below the continuum are several examples of management approaches to decision making along the spectrum. For example, leader’s may simply tell their teams “how it is going to be” or, on the other end of the spectrum, they may engage them at the ground level to identify the problem and subsequently potential solutions.

How to use it?

The point of this continuum isn’t to suggest that it is always better to move to the right side (although I certainly prefer leaders there as much as possible). Instead, it is to illustrate that there is a continuum of ways to engage teams around decision-making and strategy development – and- there is no one right answer. To make use of this tool effectively, we must understand what we are trying to achieve, our knowledge and skills related to the task, the knowledge and skills of our teams, and how much time we have for a decision (more on that last bit in during decisional space below). Empowering an inexperienced team member on a high-risk project to identify the problems and solutions from scratch is likely cruel and setting them up for failure. Simultaneously, refusing to engage a team that likely knows more than you about a topic/problem and instead only telling them the decision after everything is “said and done” is likely to frustrate everyone while causing poor outcomes.

To use this tool, we must understand that the difference between medicine and poison is the dose. The right delegation approach for one team will not work for another -even if the problem at hand is exactly the same- due to differences in team dynamics, personalities, expertise, backgrounds, and so forth. Ideally, we empower our teams as much as we can – taking advantage of the principle of subsidiary-  without setting them up for unwanted failure. Practically, this can show up in several different ways. The less familiar I am with someone’s knowledge or skillset in an area the more likely I am to take an “Invite” or “Suggest” approach than I am to go with more empowering methods initially. The more someone knows about a topic (especially when they know than me – which is often), has time to address the issue, or is looking to grow in an area (particularly when low risk), the more I am likely to lean towards “Engages at Baseline” and “Delegates” approaches. If the decision must be made quickly and I have the knowledge to do so, the more I am likely to “Tell” and “Sell.” The more time we have, the more I am likely to engage the team at the baseline of the conversation. The key point here is there are risks on either side of empowerment, and effective balance given the situation and your team is paramount.

Bringing this back to a communication lens, each of these approaches has different communication considerations and the approach itself communicates several things to our teams. In terms of considerations, higher engagement approaches typically require more time and communication to reach decisions. Let’s look to the “Delegates” approach. Opposed to making the decision ourselves, we need to be able to clearly communicate the problem, the boundaries of the solutions, and describe what we’re asking of our teams. Then, we need to give them ample time (decisional space – more on that below), to reach a decision that will meet the objective and satisfy all involved. Then, that decision must be communicated back to us with further direction to follow. The decision may be of higher quality and more robust, but there are significant tradeoffs taking place in terms of attention, opportunity costs, and time.

On the flip side, when we take a “Tells” approach we may be communicating to our teams “I don’t need you input on this decision, this is how it is, and I’m not particularly even interested in trying to sell it.” Sometimes that happens – like when a decision is handed down from “on high” or a rapid executive decision needs to happen “we are evacuating the building, now.” This is not to say a “Tells” approach isn’t ever appropriate – it absolutely is – but we should be aware of what we may be communicating as we take those approaches. Alternatively, when we hedge towards more freedom, we are communicating trust and empowerment to our teams. Once again, balance and context are key in applying this tool. With proper judgement and awareness of communication requirements of each approach (eg: effective delegation, check-ins, etc), this continuum can serve as a useful tool in your communication toolbox.

Tool: Decisional space
(importance of time in decision-making)

What is it?

Image showing a decreasing ramp of number of decisions/required lead time/and time to consult others with another ramp increasing over time to relfect more awareness and information gained with time

Decisional space is a term I’ve been using to describe the relationship between time and the nature of decision-making. As reflected in the simple model above, as time progresses, we tend to lose options while gaining information over time. We have less options available to us, the available options must have shorter lead/start-up time, and our ability to consult and engage others in decision-making decreases – but, we tend to gain more situational awareness and information over time. This frequently puts us in a difficult place.

For example, imagine there is a hurricane 3 days away from impacting several cities and we need to evaluate if we should conduct evacuations. Evacuations cost time, money, and bring risks of their own – so we need to be careful in our decision. Now, imagine that evacuations take on average 24 hours, but we won’t know if the hurricane will hit until 12 hours before landfall. This means that, by the time we have the information we need to know if the decision is correct, it will already be too late. If we wait until 12 hours before landfall, we would have lost the decisional space that includes evacuations as an option. Now, imagine the time it takes for that decision to cascade down, each piece of government to communicate and implement their own plans, and so forth – the impacts of decisional space become apparent. This exact same scenario, sans hurricane, is occurring in organizations every single day.

How to use it?

Now, consider this in the context of your teams. How much decisional space are you giving your teams? How much decisional space is wasted prior to deciding to delegate or during the time the decision gets passed down the line? How many options are taken off the table due to the time it takes for problems to be identified, raised, and assigned? As leaders, we frequently rob our teams of the space to think, collaborate, problem solve, and decide – let alone all the options we rob them of due to lost time. For leaders, aside from being aware of this tradeoff over time in general, I would strongly encourage you to consider decisional space as one of the key gifts you can give your team – one may frequently rob them of without meaning to. This can be a critical consideration when evaluating what approach along the delegation continuum to take.

Ask yourself: Do I need to be part of this decision? Are there others better equipped due to knowledge, expertise, and time? What options are we losing or have we lost due to time (especially those I may not even be aware of)? How can we create more decisional space in our teams? What information or decisions are we holding onto or holding up as a leadership team? Look to the delegation continuum described above and consider leader’s intent – how can these tools be leveraged to create space in this particular challenge or topic? There isn’t a silver bullet to solve these challenges, but a mindful approach to decisional space as a leader can go a long way.

Concept: Establishing Process & Tempo
(communication as a heartbeat) 

The last thing I’d like to share is less of a tool and more of a process, or at least a metaphor of one. So far, I’ve provided some concepts and tools that you can pull out of a toolbox as you see fit – this will be a bit different. Instead, I’d like to walk you through how I think about establishing the “heartbeat” of communication with teams. This section will focus on establishing a process and tempo for communication within teams. It will provide a narrative overview of the process with a brief summary at the end.

Assess: Conceptualizing the heartbeat

While there are a lot of ways to conceptualize communication in teams, I’ve always found the idea of a heartbeat to be the most useful. As we communicate in our teams and organizations, we share critical information, resources, and decisions that allow us to function – much like blood carrying oxygen and nutrients through our bodies. This flow of communication has a pulse, a rhythm. Within organizations, this pulse is created by the tempo of our meetings and communications. Each meeting or email blast is a heartbeat pushing information into our organizations. So, how do we get the heartbeat right? We want to understand what we need to communicate- to whom – when we need to – and how it should be done.

There are three broad factors I typically consider when establishing a process and tempo around communication in teams:

Mission and related operational needs:
Everything flows from this, as discussed in the mission-orientation section of part 1. Depending on the purpose and mission of the team, the heartbeat will look radically different. Teams with missions that have rapidly changing environments need to have extremely flexible and timely communication approaches (think short huddles, daily check-ins, group texts/chats, etc). Teams that have more stable work, say for example long-term coalition building, may want to establish more routine and structure to how they communicate (think quarterly meetings, more reports and briefings, establishing of groups of groups to explore specific issues, processes to integrate findings and strategies, and so forth). Obviously, many will need a mix of strategies depending on the demands in front of them at the present time – along with adapting to the individual personalities involved.

Outside of broad approaches, communication processes and tempo can be built around specific informational needs here as well. For example, imagine a team tasked with maintaining awareness around medical supply shortages. We can imagine there is some pieces of information they absolutely need to keep track of like the status of specific pieces of medical equipment (eg: essential elements of information). Aside from identifying what things to watch, we also need to ask ourselves “how often does it need to be updated?” Are decisions being made daily around these issues? Weekly? These needs should inform how we setup our communication channels to push and pull information (the tempo/pulse)- for both external sources of information and for internal communication up and down the chain.

While this is easy to see how the tempo influences work for a specific function like this, it is important to realize it is broadly true for our organizations as well. A communication pulse of weekly team check-ins, bi-directional monthly department updates, quarterly reports, and collaborative yearly strategic planning sessions will produce a dramatically different team than a communication pulse of occasional email blasts from leadership followed with a yearly (one-way) townhall. The pulse of the organization will influence how it performs.

Organizational structure:
Continuing the heartbeat analogy, if mission and operational needs determine what is carried by the heartbeat (key info) and how often the heart beats (tempo of communication), the organizational structure determines how the information is transported throughout our teams.

Let’s think back to managing communication channels. Imagine a team of 20 people, each divided into subgroups of 4 (5 total subgroups). As a leader of that team, you may have 5 formal communication channels to your leads of each of the subgroups. While you can communicate directly to everyone on your team, there are a variety of reasons you may want to share decisions and updates through your leads (empowering your leaders, delegation benefits for you, encouraging subconversations in your teams, etc). The more you utilize your leaders as a communication pathway to the rest of the team, the more you strengthen that pathway (vein, in this analogy) between you and your leaders – and them and their teams. Alternatively, the less you utilize channels the more they will atrophy.

Imagine now a team of 20 people, this time in teams of 2 (one lead per team) each reporting directly to you. This changes how we can communicate. At a minimum, without creating any more structure, our minimum number of formal lines is 10. Additionally, in terms of internal collaboration, each team only has one other individual to work with. Now, in many circumstances this is fine, but contrast it to the team structure above. How does having 10 lines of communication opposed to 5 influence what communication approaches you can take? It is a lot easier to make a decision with 5 people opposed to 10, it is a lot easier to have 5 conversations opposed to 10, and 5 one-on-ones take a lot less time than 10. In the same way, if we add more layers of organization/groups we create the more opportunities for messages to lose fidelity or to change over time. Obviously, the costs of some communication approaches change depending on structure. In this way, the structure of the organization also influences our communication processes and tempo.

Environmental status: Lastly, one needs to consider the status of the environment – which may be the economy, industry, society, or whatever “external” factor that influences a team’s work. This issue is also related to time and tempo. If an environment is changing rapidly and those changes influence work, the communication tempo of your teams needs to be increased. At the same time, the more stability that exists in the environment the more the pace can be reduced so your teams can focus on other issues (everything has a cost and many meetings could be emails).

Outside of the pace of change in the environment, uncertainty also plays a role. Can we really forecast what will happen in a week, a quarter, 6 months, or a year? Depending on how that question is answered, you may want to adapt your communication tempo. For example, if a key piece of information is updated every quarter, then it would be ideal to establish strategy sessions with your teams on a quarterly tempo after the information is released. At the same time, if you’re responding to disease activity that changes on a weekly basis, your communication and decision-making processes and tempos should match that frequency.

With a solid conceptualization of what the “heartbeat” of communication should look like for the team, we can start to apply some of the concepts described in this article.

Planning: Applying the tools

While the above section identified what should be communicated and when, this section focuses much more on the how. Remember our objectives: we want to understand what we need to communicate- to whom – when we need to – and how it should be done.

Both the delegation continuum and the concept of decisional space are fantastic places to start this process. Take time to evaluate how much you can engage your team in the decision-making process – this will determine nearly all the next steps to follow. For example, what you do next will look very different if you’re “telling the team the decision” vs “asking them to define the problem.” After evaluating the continuum (or during), consider how much decisional space both you and your team have for this issue or topic. How can you give them more decisional space? Are some options off the table simple due to time? These are decisions to make upfront in the process.

Afterwards, we then need to consider the best tools for communication and delegation. This will be determined by a combination of factors including the delegation approach, mission and operational needs, structure of our teams, and the environment we’re working within. There is a wealth of tools we can deploy and combine depending on what we are trying to achieve – with each one you should evaluate: what are we needing to communicate, to who, when/what frequency, and what is the best way to do it.   

Written communication: This is everything from email updates to memos to sticky notes- this also includes documentation like reports and dashboards which capture the status of things as a snapshot in time.  The advantage of written communication is it can be easily shared, the message (typically) doesn’t change as it is shared, and it can be referenced at any time. Consider sparing your team a meeting for something that can be covered with an email. Downside is it doesn’t convey emotion well, there is often less room for discussion, and you may not hear things you otherwise would delivering the message in person. Don’t forget Bottom-Line-Up-Front as a valuable tool for written communications.

Meetings, verbal communication: Everything from formal strategy sessions to informal discussions at the cubicle go in here. We can significantly influence the tempo of our team’s work and communication through the use of routine huddles, team meetings, and quarterly reviews. At the same time, we can drown our teams in useless conversations and meetings where 85% of the content is irrelevant to most of the people there. In general, the rule here is meet only as much as you need to – letting operational needs and the environment drive the tempo is a good way to do that. A huge bonus to this communication method is how adaptable it can be in terms of engagement; folks will often engage in a conversation long before they will in an email. Finally, remember not all this has to be planned and formal – an informal check-in and often go a long way.

Finally, with our tools identified, we need to revisit the idea of tempo – the heartbeat of communication through our organizations. For each identified bit of information and related strategy to communicate it, ask yourself:

  • What tempo does this information need to be communicated, and to who? (mission, operational needs, organizational structure)
  • How quickly does information change? (environment status)

These answers help determine the pace information should travel through your organization and teams. For example: If your team needs to adapt to an environment that is changing weekly, providing information and decisions on a monthly tempo will slow everything down and cause organizational pileups. At the same time, meeting every day for a team that changes strategy on a quarterly basis will only waste time and frustrate everyone involved.

The rest of the process is a simple assess-plan-do-check cycle; we should implement our strategy as designed and then continuously evaluate if it is having the desired results. If the results are good, continue and improve. If they are bad, revaluate, learn, adapt, and try again!

Putting it all together:

With some of the background and thinking behind the process laid out, here is the process highly summarized:

  1. Assess – Conceptualize the information heartbeat
    1. Mission and related operational needs: What is the mission of the organization and team? What are the key operational needs of the team?
    2. Organizational structure: How could information cascade down our organizational structure? What are the formal and informal communication channels? What are the related benefits and drawbacks?
    3. Environmental status: How quickly is the environment changing? How certain are we in our information? When will we be certain? When do we need to know?
  2. Plan – Apply the tools and strategies
    1. Remember our goal is to answer: what are we needing to communicate, to who, when/what frequency, and what is the best way to do it.
    2. Start with considering both the Delegation Continuum and Decisional Space concepts, keeping the information from the first step in mind.
    3. Consider the ideal tools and avenues for communication.
      1. There is a great deal of communication approaches, both written and verbal. Each with benefits and drawbacks.
      2. This should be strongly informed by your knowledge of your organization/teams, and the needs identified in the first step of the process (assess). Organizational structure is often a determining factor in which communication tools are used.
    4. Consider the ideal frequency of communication for each piece of information and related strategy.
      1. What tempo does this information need to be communicated, and to who? (mission, operational needs, organizational structure)
      2. How quickly does information change? (environment status)
  3. Implement – Implement strategy as designed
  4. Check – Check and monitor
    1. Achieving desired results?
      1. If so: Keep and improve!
      2. If not: Revaluate, learn, adapt, and try again!

And, that’s it! For now…

While there is a wealth of detail and judgement that goes into doing this “right” and any example fails to capture the complexity of doing this in the real world, it is my hope these tools and strategies provide some aid in managing communication within your organizations and teams. As always, I’d love to hear if this was useful to you or if there are any tools you think I should add to my toolbox!