Marketers are great communicators with customers, but what about within their own teams?

Getting your marketing team to communicate open and honestly is a challenge for any organization..  Issues stem from a lack of trust, which can result in conflict and confrontation when things go wrong.

Susan Thomson of ActionCOACH will present some ideas on how to improve your team’s communication skills at the August 27, 2019 Craft Marketing event at the Vintage Brewing Company with her presentation titled “Overcoming Communication Challenges for Your Marketing Team.” (Sign up here!)

Susan is a former division president who has spoken to over 12,000 business leaders over the last 10 years. She is currently the CEO and Partner of ActionCoach Business and Executive Coaching of Madison.

In this post, we spoke with her about her upcoming presentation.

This presentation is all about overcoming communication challenges for your marketing team. What typical challenges will it address?

Marketing teams are like any other team – they’re under tight deadlines, tight budgets, competing priorities, and  are made up of different personalities and work styles. I’ll address the most common challenges around teams and one on one conflicts within the team

Once you understand why we feel and behave the way we do, you’ll understand what to do about it  – how to take situations that may be very uncomfortable today and successfully navigate them so everyone involved feels heard and valued.

This will be based on Patrick Lencioni’s “Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” why did you draw from this work, and can you give us a sneak peek of 1 or 2 dysfunctions?

There are two foundational dysfunctions from Patrick Lencioni’s work that are important for leaders and teams to master – the first is building trust in the team and between teams.

As humans, we have this crazy desire for self-preservation. It’s primal – we’re hard-wired for it.  Couple that with different agendas, different personalities and company politics, and the environment that we come into every day is set up for “me to take care of me.”

Trust requires vulnerability, without any guarantee that it will be honored or returned. So we’ll talk about how to build trust in teams.

The second is fear of conflict.  Patrick said that the avoidance of conflict is the single-largest reason that companies fail today.  I agree.  We see it every day in companies, and the decision to learn how to re-frame conflict and “do it well” serve successful teams very well.

It’s uncomfortable work – my Mom raised me with “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”  Talk about hard-wiring to avoid anything that feels like conflict!  We’ll help teams reframe conflict into something much different – the pursuit of the best answer.

You’re going to talk about establishing “Rules of the Game” for dealing with conflict and confrontation.  Can you share a few rules?

Often as leaders we feel like people should “just know” how to behave.  But the last time I checked, most people don’t have ESP.   So they can’t read my mind, and “just know” what good behavior around conflict and confrontation looks like. I need to tell them!

These rules should be established by each team and will be different, but one common rule is this: if we all agree to live “above the line” and avoid making excuses, then we also agree that we can call each other on that when we slip.

We have to break some bad communication habits, and slipping into excuse/blame/reason mode is one that we give permission to each other to help us out with.

Who would benefit from this presentation and why? 

Anyone who works with people!  The dysfunctions apply to internal teams, cross-functional teams – even your family and friends team.

If you’re open to taking an honest look in the mirror about where your gaps are, and commit to getting better, your world will get better.  Which, by the way, means your team’s world gets better – we all benefit.

Click here to sign up for AMA Madison’s August Craft Marketing event!

Greg Mischio is the Owner and Strategic Director of Winbound. Winbound is a content marketing firm that provides an all-in-one content marketing and conversion optimization package specifically designed for small marketing departments. Read his post on how to start content marketing. Twitter: @gregmischio

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