Communication Styles for 21st Century Management

By Fatmanur Erdogan, Hürriyet Daily News

In the old days, Turks preferred home-prepared food to eating out in restaurants. Today, professional couples with less time than money log onto yemeksepeti.com to order dinner after an exhausting workday.  Their lifestyle habits don’t resemble those of their parents.

How many years did it take for Nike, Starbucks or Mavi to build names for themselves?  Compare their relatively long, slow growth to the meteoric rise of YouTube, the popular video-sharing site.  The company started in 2005 with the “Broadcast Yourself” slogan, and sold a mere two years later for 1.6 billion dollars.

Murat, a twenty something marketing specialist, spends most of his time on friendfeed.com reading his peers’ posts and sharing his opinions on subjects from CRM to sailing. He live blogs the conferences he attends with his iPhone or Blackberry. He reads newspapers online, and looks to the web for product reviews before he makes purchasing decisions.

At work, Murat is frustrated because his company blocks the social media tools he knows and loves.  He prefers to communicate by phone or email, and he thinks his manager is inefficient and old fashioned, since he regularly pops into his office for “face to face” conversations about things large and small, and hardly ever responds to Murat’s emails on time.

The internet has changed forever the way we do business and how we communicate with each other.  Yet too often companies are satisfied with managers who are not even comfortable with older technologies like email.  If managers can’t keep up with the times, how can they be relied upon to lead and create a vision for their company?

The business world emphasizes innovation, and product innovation is where the focus is today.  However, to nurture this culture we must understand the dynamics of communication, because everything we do is influenced by it.  When communication styles and tools are changing, how can we foster a culture of innovation when our companies’ management practices are still stuck in the last century?  When our managers are still trying to survive with the knowledge they gained 20 years ago?  When they are not interested in keeping abreast of the developing internet communication technologies?

To lead successfully, managers have to learn continuously, and that cannot be done simply by attending trainings hosted by the HR department.  It must come from an innate desire to move forward.  If you are a manager with such a desire, then you know that communicating vision requires understanding the current environment and being able to look into the future.  The old times are over.  It is no longer possible for managers to understand developments in technology and communication by watching them passively.  The times are about actively participating in them, experiencing them and experimenting with them.

Communication today is about sharing, about being involved and engaged, and about creating and participating in communities.  It is about being more than just an “employee” of a particular company — it is about being recognized by your peers and the wider circle of your community.  If this still sounds new and unfamiliar to you, it is time to log on to the web and start surfing some blogs in your field, and perhaps even testing a Twitter account to see for yourself why people use it and how your own business could benefit from it.

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