On January 4, 2023, I got to provide the kick-off guest lecture for a graduate class at Auburn University. The course is part of a graduate program focused on technical professionals from the US Army Corps of Engineers. The class focuses on risk management and decision making related to large public works and infrastructure projects. The 2nd edition of my book, Communicating Reliability, Risk & Resiliency to Decision Makers: How to Get Your Boss’s Boss to Understand, is the required reading for the class.
The Power of Effective Communication
Effective communication is the one thing that will make your life and career more rewarding, more prosperous, and more fulfilling. Most technically trained professionals overlook this game changer missing effective communication. Communicating with FINESSE provides a viable path for mastering effective communication.
Symptoms, Not the Cause
Not getting the understanding and respect you deserve is a symptom of not being an effective communicator. Technical professionals often blame this on inferior knowledge of others, the shallow thinking of society, corporate or individual greed, or the system's bureaucracies. Not being understood or getting the respect that we deserve feels overwhelming.
Career growth that has flattened is another symptom of ineffective communication. We often blame this on the boss having a more favored employee, some personal feature that makes us different than others, the organization’s set ways of doing things, or corporate or individual greed.
These are symptoms. Ineffective communication is the root cause.
So, why do technically trained professionals have such a hard time with the social skill of effective communication?
Not enough time to address soft skills
Technical professionals spend the first ten years of their careers learning how to apply their academic training in the real world. Next, we are elevated into some form of project management role where the combination of technical problem solving and paperwork overwhelms us. Fifteen to twenty years pass. Now in the twilight of our career, we offer sage advice to the younger generation about technical matters and how to get the paperwork done.
We find ourselves a little more measured in holding out tongue, but we are about as effective at communicating complex business matters as we were when we started. We simply have not had the time to work on it.
Communicating with FINESSE has created a one-stop destination that requires less of your valuable time. We have assembled in one place:
The core information you need to be successful
A community of proven technical practitioners
Guest insights and perspectives each month
Training webinars and workshops
The FINESSE mental model
Too many unorganized tips
Even the worst communicators are willing to provide you with tips on how to be a better communicator. That also goes for those who are now at a point in their careers where they feel obligated to provide you with sage advice. You can also go to the internet and get thousands of free tips.
Senior professionals blathering unorganized tips WILL NOT get you where you need to go.
FINESSE provides seven buckets in which all of those thousands of free tips can be categorized. In turn, the tips are more digestible and it is easier to determine when you are focusing on too many of the same tips.
No cause and effect relationship
Random tips are marginally helpful if they are not tied to cause and effect relationships. It is like seeking to be a billionaire and receiving tips like using coupons, minimizing credit cards, taking risks, and not wasting money on things you don’t need. Unless you understand the cause and effect relationships, the tips provide only a random walk that may or may not get you to the desired result.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) professionals can relate to cause and effect (fishbone) diagrams and systems. Ironically, the same technical aptitude and training that leads society to discredit us as communicators unlocks the secret of success for being an effective communicator.
FINESSE and the FINESSE fishbone diagram provide us with the cause-and-effect relationship. Like any system, a communication system requires doing each of the interrelated parts within a specified tolerance. Skipping a “bone” or not doing a bone to an acceptable level will produce an undesirable result. FINESSE is the key that opens the effective communication treasure chest.
Thinking About It
If you are not being understood, getting the respect you deserve, or your career has flatlined, it is not because you lack intelligence or the system is rigged against you. You are not as effective at communication as you need to be.
Understanding your time limitations, that random tips will not achieve the end goal, and that you need a cause and effect relationship to be successful are where improvement begins. FINESSE provides the keys to success.
Founded by JD Solomon, Communicating with FINESSE is a not-for-profit community of technical professionals dedicated to being highly effective trusted advisors. Learn more about our publications, webinars, and workshops. Join the community for free.