Communication Is the First Deliverable: What Alpha Managers Do Differently

Icons of people with speech bubbles. Vector illustration of a cI recently attended a presentation by consultant and business author Andy Crowe, who shared information from a survey he conducted. The survey results identified the core traits that differentiate top project managers from their peers.

Crowe shared data from 860 project managers who had completed a 360-degree assessment on eight dimensions.

I was surprised to learn that the Alphas—the top 2 percent of these managers as rated by stakeholders—believe communication to be the key deliverable until the product is in customers’ hands.

Communication Is Key

The Alphas emphasize the importance of understanding their audiences and the need to tailor their communication to be effective throughout the project cycle. One key trait required is self-awareness. The best project managers are aware of their natural behavioral tendencies and know when to flex their style.

As I was listening to Crowe speak, I thought of coaching conversations I’ve conducted with clients on communication. Many clients want to increase their communication effectiveness with senior executives, team members, and peers.

When looking to improve your communication effectiveness, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Who is my audience?
  • What information does my audience need or want to hear?
  • What is my purpose for communicating?
  • What is the best approach or style for my audience?

A little bit of introspection during coaching sessions increases clients’ understanding of effective communication behaviors and approaches. This self-awareness allows clients to tailor their communication to each audience and helps them improve in areas such as being concise, stating clear expectations, and listening for understanding.

Alpha project managers, as Crowe shared, are strategic about communicating information in a way that will be quickly understood by every stakeholder. This leads to stakeholder buy-in, transparency, conflict resolution, and proactive problem solving.

Effective communication is the foundation for success—and communication is the first deliverable!

About the Author

Terry WatkinsTerry Watkins is a coaching solutions partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies Coaching Services team. Since 2000, Blanchard’s 130 coaches have worked with over 14,500 individuals in more than 250 companies throughout the world. Learn more at Blanchard Coaching Services. And check out Coaching Tuesday every week at Blanchard LeaderChat for ideas, research, and inspirations from the world of executive coaching.

4 thoughts on “Communication Is the First Deliverable: What Alpha Managers Do Differently

  1. That communication is top priority for these Alpha Managers is really interesting food for thoughts. Thanks so much for sharing that. Love your four questions!

  2. Terry – I agree with Joanne that knowing that the top 2% view communication as so critical makes it noteworthy and love the vision in this language, “communication is the KEY DELIVERABLE until the product is in customers’ hands”.

    Thank you for sharing!

  3. Hi, this is all so true, effective communication can also lead to better employee engagement. The trick is targeting the right internal communications. I wrote a blog post on internal communications trends for 2016 which is also relevant at One thing is getting the communication targeting right, the other is being able to deliver it effectively, hopefully without a massive email overload.

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