A few weeks ago, one of the participants in a workshop had traveled there on his new motorcycle. Let me just say that it was a sweet bike! He parked it up near the door under the awning of the hotel to protect it. On the third day of the workshop, the hotel manager came to me and said that someone from the hotel’s corporate headquarters had done a surprise inspection the evening before, and that she had been cited because of where the motorcycle was parked. I apologized and asked the workshop participant to move the bike. He then told me that he had gotten permission from the front desk before parking his motorcycle where he did and went and moved it. Sensing that there may have been some miscommunication between hotel staff, I went back to the manager to let her know so that she could clarify with her employees. It was hard not to chuckle when she responded, “I guess I’ll have to write it in the book again.”

Too often one of the things people find most frustrating in their jobs is the lack of effective communication within their organization. This leads to misunderstanding and conflicts both with coworkers and persons served. There are many different reasons why miscommunication happens, but often the problem may be that the channels we use when we communicate aren’t effective. The manager’s response above caused me to immediately think that to “write it in the book” may not be working.

In The Mandt System, we teach organizations to look at the communication processes they use to make sure they are communicating in a way that gives people the information that they need to be successful. We encourage that everyone within an organization be trained on effective communication skills, and that when miscommunication occurs that we look not just at the senders and receivers of the information, but also at the tools, processes, and systems that may be contributing to problem.

Doug ZehrVogt, Mandt System Faculty