How many hands in the pie? Answer to the question depends on the stage of the pie’s creation. At the front end of the project, when plans are still being formed about what kind of pie to make, what specific ingredients to use, and what kind of crust it should have, everyone in the family might have a say. On the back end of the project, when it’s time to seal the dough neatly around the edges and put the pie into the oven, one person—someone with experience and skill—had better take command and control of the operation while all the early-stage collaborators step aside.
Think about the number of new technologies you’ve had to incorporate into your life during the last few years, Compare that to changes that occurred 10 years ago—20 years ago. A few seconds of recollection will reveal that the rate of change in our lives is increasing exponentially with time.
Companies need to face that phenomenon head on. The needs of your customer are changing rapidly, and the consequent changes in their buying habits are creating new market landscapes. Company executives who lack the perceptiveness and flexibility to react to those changes can expect to feel the wrath of shareholders as market share plunges.
Whenever I hear of a failed business relationship, I expect to hear someone diagnose the problem as “lack of communication.” That’s the whipping boy most commonly trotted out into the public square any time a business relationship takes a bad turn. In reality, “lack of communication” is possible only if the respective parties exchange no information at all. The real problem is more likely poor communication, i.e., a violation of one or more principles that underlie successful communication. The purpose of this article is to identify and describe the most fundamental of those principles.
The Children’s program Sesame Street has a clever way of encouraging children to discern differences. Young viewers are shown several identical objects, with one slightly different object mixed in. Their task, with the help of Big Bird or one of the other Sesame Street characters, is to identify the one that’s “not like the others.”
Five centuries ago, conditions in Europe were perilous for many. Some muddled through bleak circumstances and took what came. Others had the imagination to see that a brighter future might await them in the New World. Leaders emerged whose navigational equipment, skills, and personal qualities gave others the courage to follow them across a sea of unknowns in search of a more promising place.