Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Communication - My 'C.I.E.' Model


© Se├ín Weafer 2008 all rights reserved

The 5th C in the model is Communication.

Once one has reflected on one's environment, determined the direction they wish to take (and why they wish to take it), seized control of it by breaking objectives into achievable actions and found that their confidence and self-esteem starts to rise with each successful action accomplished, this then impacts on communication.

Businesses are networks of individuals and networks function only as effectively as information is transferred through them.  The essence of good communication in today's businesses can also be defined in another simple idea of mine - the "C.I.E." model:  Connect Involve Engage.

Just ‘communicating' with people is no longer enough - telling people what to do or think is no longer effective. We have to connect with them, get them involved and engaged - make them partners - both as employees and customers.

These things can only be accomplished not by ‘directing' or ‘telling' people what to do anymore but by engaging them through skills such as generating rapport and trust and then - having created an environment where they are willing to listen to a congruent and convincing message -  influencing them through powerful questions and suggestions.

So why would we need to "Connect, Involve and Engage" more effectively in business today?  Because today, Humanity is moving through a revolutionary time in our history. We have come to live in an age where access to information has been made so easy that it is changing the very values of society.

Nowhere is this more clearly visible than in business today, where a whole generation of business people (Gen Y) are interacting with each other in a radically different way than the generation before them (Gen X).

They are ‘digital natives' intimately familiar with the cyber world and using it to network with each other, multi-task and collaborate and communicate with people internationally on a daily basis. They belong to cyber communities or social networks - through which they can project their on-line ‘brand', interact with friends and seek out career/business opportunities.

Through wider access to ‘always on' information, the values of an increasing number of people (employees and customers), evidenced through the rise of social economics and social entrepreneurship, are changing to a ‘partnership' model of business (joint ventures, networks, co-creativity, coaching) rather than the old style ‘dominator' and directive model.

In a ‘partnership' model the key principle is what I call the Co-Creative Principle or ‘that which we co-create we own'. Ownership is shared by the business owner, the employees and through on-line feedback, interactive web sites and on-line ‘rating' of businesses, products and services - the customer.

In such an information rich and volatile environment, our business messages can no longer be a ‘monologue' i.e. just us speaking at people - they must be a ‘dialogue' - involving more than just us. Of course, in a market where there are so many competing messages and offerings as well - many can become overwhelmed by the amount of information available.

Therefore, a business or a person with a clear sense of direction, of control and of confidence is a person or business than can create a message that is well thought-out, clearly focused and highly congruent (what they say is in keeping with that they do) - and therefore, highly convincing.

They can also comfortably take time to invest in learning the core skills of the new ‘partnership age'. Techniques such as active questioning and listening, establishing rapport, reframing, networking, profiling people and defining their communications preferences and then adapting our business style to suit them.

This business or this person, above all others, quickly becomes the most convincing and the most attractive to employees and the market - attracting the best of talent and the best of customers.

1 comment:

  1. Sean,

    This is a wonderful commentary and insight.

    As someone who understands both the traditional and new models, you are uniquely placed to offer guidance to businesses and business leaders looking to move into this new arena, in terms of;

    1. Internally, how they manage their business and their relationships within their business.
    2. Externally how the manage doing business and their relationships with competitors and customers.

    We need to get this up on the SLI site.

    Words of Wisdom my friend.