running-shoesSometimes when I am out training I wonder about the amazing machine that is the human body.

  • How do my feet know to jog around my running route?
  • How do my arms know to work in rhythm?
  • How do my heart and lungs know to increase their work rate to provide the power?

I am an engineer, not a physician, but I do find it fascinating that the communication and coordination between all of these separate functions appears to be effortless.

A couple of weeks ago I was visiting a company that is going through some challenging times and I had been asked to help the turnaround. The product is good, the shareholders have invested in new manufacturing facilities, the brand is well-respected and the most recent product launch has received rave reviews by the press and customers. But staff redundancies have been made; employee confidence is low and the overall performance improvement much slower than expected.  The organisation was not running, in fact it was barely stumbling along.

I started in the operating areas and just asked the team how things were. Initially nervous, they soon started chatting and their passion simply poured out. When I asked about the future of the business they looked lost.

They had not seen the executive directors in the department for many months, had not had a formal briefing on company performance for many more months and were keeping their head down for fear of … well, for fear of the unknown! Everyone was working very hard, but didn’t know where they fitted into the overall plan. They had no vision of success.

This reminded me of my running feet. The communication between brain and feet is invisible – but it is there! Every part of my body knows what it has to do to perform. The same is true in any organisation. Communication and coordination are simply the most important functions of the organisation’s central nervous system and these are controlled by the management team.

How do they achieve that? It’s all to do with communication – not just telling, but asking and listening and is part of the solution I will be working on with this company.

If you feel I could help your company please get in touch  by email to kevin@kevingaskell.com because one fact is clear, without effective internal communication the runner will just fall over.