I was recently reminded of the story in the Bible called “The Tower of Babel.” The story goes like this: God tells a group of people to spread out across the land, but they say, “Screw that! We’re going to band together in a city and build a giant tower!” God checks it out and says, “Um, no.” To thwart their plans, God gives them different languages so that they can no longer communicate. Work ceased. Game over. God wins.
If you can’t communicate, progress halts. DONE.
We like to think we’re independent, we’re self-sufficient, we don’t need anybody. But even in our automated, isolated, impersonal world, we need others to help us get where we’re going. Clients, colleagues, vendors, employees… even if you work alone you must communicate well for business to move forward. An unwillingness or inability to positively interact with others will shut you down.
The other day, I heard this from a friend: A highly successful businessman at a large firm—a friend of hers—had been promised a promotion. As sometimes happens, the company didn’t follow through and the promotion was given to someone else. He had no idea why. Was the promise forgotten? Had he been lied to? Did he unknowingly screw up somehow? The man was hurt, angry, and confused. But he couldn’t bring himself to address the situation openly. A candid discussion was unthinkable to him, yet he could not move past the negative feelings. So he quit his job. His inability to safely discuss conflict ended his career. His work ceased.
No matter what you do, excellent communication skills help get it done. With the proper tools you can navigate conflict and tension, deal with difficult people, streamline processes, and collaborate successfully. This means better working relationships and more efficient use of time.