As a child, playing “telephone” could lead to hilarious misunderstandings. There were some positive lessons to be learned from playing this childhood game such as crafting a strong message, relaying your message to a group, using your voice to speak clearly, being a good listener and working as a team. Yet, these subconscious learning outcomes were not the reason most would play the game and in fact, it was rather disappointing when the message remained unaltered by the time it got to the last person in the chain. It was much more entertaining when the message mutated into some distorted version of the original phrase. However, the same enjoyment cannot be found in the workplace. Clear and continuous communication is often a business pain point for Government and contractors alike. Distorted messages and misunderstandings can cost time, energy, money and, on the odd occasion, hurt feelings.
In a large and dispersed business development and capture (BD&C) team, playing “telephone” on company time can lead to missed opportunities, lack of profit, and low morale. Essentially, the haphazard communication that makes the telephone game fun is a lesson in exactly what to avoid on a business development team. Below are a few key staples that serve as a strong foundation for new BD teams and improve existing teams when implemented.
In an Agile development world, regular check ins such as Daily Scrums and weekly Sprint meetings can support communication across a team. Meeting with the team and discussing past successes, areas for improvement, and next steps in an open discussion can facilitate positive outcomes that make for a successful – and profitable - business.
Using tools that facilitate audit trails and central access to required files or discussions allows the team to maintain control of all BD&C artifacts and ensures no team member is left out of critical communication. Providing a central space to collaborate also offers the benefit of allowing the team to share lessons learned and contribute to Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
At the core of good communication is leadership who share and encourage communication with honesty and constructive support. All employees must feel comfortable reaching out to leadership if they need to communicate ideas, concerns, or simply want to socialize after a hard day at the office. It is this ethos that makes Ellumen successful – the investment in engaging our people.
Part of that investment is in maintaining regular communication with the whole company. Collaborating with employees to develop the business and enhance processes to make the business profitable AND a great place to work. It is extremely beneficial for employees to feel they can contribute to the wider business goals of the company. Individuals communicating with one another across a company can provide opportunities for organic growth on current projects as well as developing positive working relationships that lead to company-wide successes.
So, while regular meetings, a central repository, individual participation, and strong leadership could make for a boring game of telephone, they are important mainstays that make working in an otherwise hectic and unpredictable environment fun. Ellumen encourages employees to reach out across department boundaries with ideas for improving BD&C, thoughts on innovation related to products, and enhancements to processes and procedures that ensure success for our customers.