A gentleman was walking through an elephant camp, and he spotted
that the elephants weren’t being kept in cages or held by the use of chains.
was holding them back from escaping the
camp, was a small piece of rope tied to one of their legs.
As the man gazed upon the elephants, he was completely confused as
to why the elephants didn’t just use their strength to break the rope and
escape the camp. They could easily have done so, but instead, they didn’t try
to at all.
Curious and wanting to know the answer, he asked a trainer nearby
why the elephants were just standing there and never tried to escape.
The trainer replied;
they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and,
at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to
believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so
they never try to break free.”
The only reason that the elephants weren’t breaking free and
escaping from the camp was that over time they adopted the belief that it just
wasn’t possible. The elephant can’t think out of the box. There is no
innovative quality bestowed. The elephant likewise if a person does not
innovate or think different than what he/she has been used to they are not
creativity is thinking out of the box, innovation is putting into action a
creative plan. For innovating a product or service we must consider the
What is required or desired by the users? It means that innovative
products or services must meet defined or undefined needs of the consumers.
What is possible with the existing technology? One has to keep
in mind the available technology innovation can ride or ameliorate on, so as to
make the innovation more achievable. Moreover, one really need not re-invent
What is viable in the market place? It is necessary to find out
the viability of the innovative product or service which has been conceived
before starting work on it. Truth be told, viability is critical to prevent
Simply said, innovation is change that unlocks new value. The Following are the 7 steps that held, produce innovation smoothly.
In order to ascertain desirability to the users we must start with the concept crisis: If trying to upgrade a product/service one may ask the customers who its current users are. Observing the product in use and reviewing the difficulties and complaints faced by the current consumer will give a clearer picture of the desired modification or innovation.
After identifying what needs to be done a detailed plan including the target result has to be laid out. One should run brain storm sessions, and if a corporation, the company’s whole brain should be used. It is a myth that innovation is the brainchild of a single genius; rather it is the result of collaborative effort.
The organization needs to examine the related current patents before undertaking innovation. One should not find out later on, that somebody else already holds a patent for the innovation conceived and worked upon.
Failures are a part of creating anything new. Failures should not deter the process of innovation. It’s necessary to persistently follow the plan. Often results take longer than expected. Persistence is crucial.
During the process of creating an innovative product or service the organization should consistently review i)what new additions can be made ii) what new ways can be adopted that could change the design or the processes.
A friendly environment should be created and a keen sense of curiosity needs to be encouraged. At every stage the output reached is reflected upon. The process of innovation can be made smooth only with an in depth contemplation and an environment that promotes creative thinking.
Innovation is best achieved when a creative idea is selected & the leader is totally committed to that new idea. Passion produces results. The leader must also have good business sense and a broad understanding of how things feel inside or outside the company. The requirement is that of strategic thinking or of a ‘helicopter sense’- a talent for rising above the smaller details to be able to see the big picture. Such a leader is able to create a cohesive and driven team which is in turn is fully dedicated to the project. The plan must be prepared in a collaborative fashion. The team members should also contribute in making the plan. Team work needs to be ensured.
What is communication?
How can we define it? First of all let’s understand it’s origin and it’s
meaning. Communication is derived from the Latin word “communis” meaning to
share something or hold in common. Communication can be defined in following
Communication is the
process of exchanging information, ideas, thoughts, speech, signals, writing or
behaviour. First, let’s try to answer the most pertinent management
question. What is important in motivating people, forming a successful team,
getting all your work done? Answer is simple. Successful communication skills!
It demands efforts, it needs motivation. Motivational speaker, Tony Robin
stated that for effective communication we must realise that we are all
different in the way we perceiveg. So we must respect each other’s perspective,
then only we would lead to a successful communication.
Arguing is not
communication. It is noise. But responding without understanding is also not
communication. We all have our own choice to say yes or no. That choice is the
medium of communication. If you express that answer politely then only you can
have an effective communication. “You should know how to present your point in
front of others. There should be no chance of confusion with you.”
Winston Churchill said
“it is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look
forward to the trip”. If you qualify telling even rude words in such a way that
they turn to as good words for the listener than you are the master of
communication. This is how communication impacts the world.
In today’s fast going
world one needs to understand the importance of connecting with others and the
ways to do so. Most of us take the meaning of word communication as verbal
conversation. Does it mean only verbal communication? No, it’s half the
statement. Communication can be verbal, nonverbal or the body language. It
simply states that in today’s world what is said is important but what is not
said is equally important, Even the hidden objective is taken into
consideration. Communication skills are of more importance than anything
else, as it holds the personality of a person. As the old saying says
that there is a large difference in the word ‘having something to say and
having to say something’. They look similar but meaning of both is different.
Content, being the
king in communication, plays a major role in changing the whole personality.
Here again who takes the hold of audience or the listeners? More patient the audience
more is your benefit. But understanding audience is critical. They can
understand even what you have not spoken. You might be thinking what is the
difference? Difference is as clear. The one who understands what you have not
spoken is living in the present. He is there with his mind and soul in what you
are doing. Your communication skills including verbal, nonverbal and your body
language play a vital role here. So if the listener is impressed by your
communication skills then only he will be active in the process and further
interaction or communication is possible.
It’s not one way
process. It is open and two way path. It can be either the speaker affects the
listeners by asking questions, seeing to his body language or understanding
him/her, can be the other way round also. Again a question arises on the
lifestyle which you are living. Are you satisfied with it? Is your
concentration level upto the mark to meet the present day requirement? Or you
are still in some dreams while a lecture or another topic has started?
demands near 100% accuracy and concentration for a wonderful and beneficial
communication. The famous Management Consultant, Peter Drucker has stated that
most important thing in communication does, understand what is not said.
Observing this way, you can understand the full concept of what is being
spoken. Hence communication is not defined by its effectiveness but the
response of effectiveness. Audience plays a major role no matter it is one or
many. Until and unless communication serves the purpose of the listeners, it is
of no use. A well said quote will completely set your minds to it.
“Communication is dream more – compare less, listen more – talk less, love more
– argue less, hope more – fear less, relax more – worry less, believe more –
complain less, play more – work less.”
These quotes can be
taken as the steps to a successful communication. Author of the book ‘Seven
Habits of Highly Effective People’, Stephen Covey has well said that often
people have character strength but they lack communication skills. And that
affects the quality of relationships. Generation gap is the best example to
support the above statement.
Communication must not
be complicated. It may not use very extensive vocabulary, it may be as simple
but as clear as possible. If ideas are not drawn into action, they just turn to
be simple paper work. Only with the help of communication skills ideas can turn
the dreams to a reality.
Possibilities of Communications
Let’s examine four
possible combinations of speaking & listening. This will enable us to
understand what communication can do to our lives and to our organisations.
1.Effective speaking but poor listening. If this is the leader’s
characteristics the results could be as under:
It will increase your
focus. You may have generated good followers & good soldiers. But the
potential leaders will leave. There will be practically no innovation. Stress
level will increase.
2.Effective speaking and active listening. That is the perfect combination for
the leader. The focus of the leader and of the organisation will remain in the
forefront. Things will happen fast. Loyalty of employees will increase.
Appreciation of mind and ability to enjoy the work will bring in more
breakthroughs, more innovations. People will collaborate with each other and
also compete with each other. The best will blossom with the leader’s effective
speech and active listening. An atmosphere of sustainable leadership will
Possibility 3: Poor
speaking but active listening. It will amount to lack of focus. Also, waste of
time & money. There will be thrust on management by committees. People
might get an impression that anything goes.
listening will also result in the positives. The employees will become more
self-expressed. Application of mind by them will increase. There would be
Possibility 4: Poor
speaking and poor listening. It will be nothing but a slow death of the
enterprise. The death of textile mills in Mumbai & Ahmadabad can be
attributed to this syndrome. Misunderstanding and conflicts will rule.
Opportunities will be missed. There would be high rate of attrition. Isolation
will result in fragmentation, and finally extinction.
Just perusing the
above possibilities would shake our slumber. Importance of communication will
then be fully realised. So, I will deal with both aspect of communication- good
speaking and good listening.
What should one do to
become an excellent Communicator?
First of all it is
necessary to have strong content. Content is the king. Effective communications
take this into account more than any other aspect of management or even life.
Content means domain knowledge. You can’t fool people with shallow thoughts.
Much less you can impress them. Lot of hard work goes into acquiring knowledge.
The biggest problem is seen when you have worthwhile knowledge but you can’t
use into your advantage due to lack of effective speech. Your expression
remains impaired. People would barely know that you are a storehouse of useful
Then what should you
do? Become a good speaker. Practice the art and science of speaking clearly,
confidently and convincingly.
How do you speak
clearly? You must understand that speech in the result of decision to
communicate. You must also understand what goes into making voice and the
speech. The process in simple words is as follows. First of all ‘thinking’
clarifies the idea you want to project to the listener or a group of listeners.
Then brain sends a signal to the lungs and some breath is released. Breath
strikes the vocal cord to produce sound. But the words are created by the
speech organs. So in order to speak clearly, think clearly. Cultivate habit of
deep breathing. It enables to have sufficient breath to support strength of
your voice. This will also enable you to speak longer sentence without
breathing in between. The flow of speech will enable ideas to flow smoothly.
Listening intently is
equally important for good communication
Communication does not
mean only effective speaking. In fact, it is the beginning point. But even more
important is active listening. Active listening will bring about the results
that you are looking for. You communicate with someone or a group of listeners
with an objective. How can you influence others? By listening to them actively
or with your speech. How do you find whether you are a good listener or not? I
give below a checklist which is self- explanatory.
You must always use
this checklist to prepare for any important meeting particularly when you have
to speak to an audience!
1. Don’t think of what
you are going to say next when another person is speaking. Just focus on
understanding and assimilating what he/she has to say.
2. You must listen
with an open mind. Don’t try to relate with your own experience, similar
experience. When someone is relating a story in support of his argument, your
tendency to evaluate should be given a pause. Never be judgmental, as they say.
3. When you are
listening, try to recreate mentally what the other person is saying
4. Try to see things
from the speaker’s point of view. Empathise and be compassionate while
5. Try to uncover the
intent of the speaker. All speakers may not be terse. Their verbosity may
require a little extra effort on your part to understand the intent. Make this
6. Think what results
you can produce through listening rather than speaking. If you want to
influence people, you will be amazed to observe how listening comes in handy
7. Listen a minute
longer than it is comfortable. That extra minute will give you extra input. In
any case, you are having a dialogue for understanding the other’s point of
8. Last but not the
least; you must remember that your words of advice will be seen as unwanted
noise. Never give an advice unless asked for. If you are not convinced and the
solution demands that you must express your views, do that and say we agree to
our lives in more ways than we know.
Right from the time we get up in the morning,
we start communicating. We speak to our people at home. Each word that we speak
has some kind of signification. Either we request for help or we do something
for others at home.
We receive telephonic
calls. Our talk on telephone is either verbose or we are to the point. We
efficacy of our words determine to what extent we can influence the people we
If we word to list all
the jobs that we have to do during the day, our productivity will be reflected
in the complication of our tasks. Normally one would not relate productivity
with our speech or with our communication.
If you are a team
leader, you’re expected to motivate your team members to perform certain tasks.
Your success as a leader depends on how successful your team members are in
If you are working for
someone, your performance will depend on how best you can assimilate the
instruction. Evidently you may need some clarification on the job assign to you
this will also require you to communicate.
communication has certain prerequisites. These are:
1. Language: you must
have adequate knowledge of the language. These include grammar a reasonable
vocabulary and ability to make perfect sentences to express exactly what you
want to convey.
2. Body language: If
you are talking in person your body language plays an important role in your
3. If you are talking
on the telephone the clarity of your speech and be efficacy of expression will
determine your effectiveness.
4. I f you are
sending a written communication making some request, again the result will
depend on the effectiveness of your letter or Email.
5. If you’re
communicating with a group of friends through social media, the success of your
task will depend on the words that you use while communicating.
6. If you are making a
presentation to a group of people, your objective will be archive partially or
holy depending on your performance during the communication.
7. If you are a
teacher and teach the students. The knowledge that your students may acquire
depending on how effective you are in your expression.
8. If you are an
advocate you will be able to convince the judge about you clients in a since
provided you use the language effectively. Otherwise even your solid evidence
can sometimes be our looked.
9. As a journalist you
are supposed to report the news as it may happen. You are not expected to
include your opinion in your report. But if you don’t have adequate control
over your written or spoken language, you will not be able to remain objective.
10. There is no scope
for any letup or fault by the General or the officer who is leading an
What has been said
above, when assimilated, will empower you to always use the ‘Double Edged
Sword’ of Communications to make you a winner.