Running Head: COMMUNICATION IN CORPORATE AMERICA Communication in Corporate America David Tamene Davenport University MGMT 535 Dr. Ruth September 16, 2009 Introduction Communication is one of the most vital components of a business! It is imperative that every business practices good communication within its members. From a managerial perspective, mangers have to make sure they carry out effective communication skills by actively listening to verbal and nonverbal messages. A fundamental strength of great leaders is that they communicate a powerful sense of urgency that mobilizes all troops in pursuit of a brighter and better future (Richardson, 2009). Communication is necessary for all walks of life. It is necessary in the workplace, between employees and their managers, CEOs, and fellow employees. According to one article by McEwen, communication is directly linked to company profits (Ewen, 1998). Furthermore, communication is necessary in maintaining healthy relationships between family and friends, and especially with significant others. The present paper will analyze how and where communication was impaired and the resulting consequences it created in a very prominent financial company. Smith Financial Corporation was established in the 1800s and served many Fortune 500 companies ( Mcjannet, Hattersley, 2008). In the late 1990s, the Smith group was in need of a new Assistant Vice President and Director of Data Management. It was at this time that Frank Miller was hired. Before joining the Smith Financial Group, Miller worked as a consultant and published a few articles. Miller was keen to learn about Microsoft and thus attended many conferences. When Miller was hired at the Smith Financial Corporation, they were very eager and enthusiastic about Miller. The managers, supervisors, programmers, vice president, and CEO welcomed Miller as though he was a divine intervention whom would “fix” all their problems. However, to the contrary, this did not yield to be the case. Soon after joining the Smith Financial team, Miller was creating all kinds of turmoil; from alienating people, to not listening to anyone’s ideas, to purchasing a “push technology” worth $45,000, not heeding any ideas except his own, and undermining everyone’s intelligence, Miller was creating problems left and right. Six months after being hired at Smith Financial Corporation, Frank Miller was relieved of his duties as Assistant Vice President and Director of Data Management. “The Internet is known as the global communications network and it is being called by many experts the most promising avenue for business in existence today. Through the use of Internet, companies and government agencies worldwide are finding exciting new ways to serve their customers and communicate with each other” (Dorobek, 2009). Though the internet is our new means of communication, I believe it is one of the biggest culprits for miscommunication within an organization, amongst peers, and in personal relationships. As mentioned earlier, communication is a key in every aspect of daily life. A prime example, in which communication lacked or was impaired, was in the case of Frank Miller and the Smith Financial Corporation. The root of the huge problem experienced by the Smith Financial Corporation when they hired Frank Miller was communication! In the case of Mr. Miller, from the time he was hired, there was never proper communication with him and the other staff. At first sight, Miller was brought into the company as though he was a divine intervention, simply brought to miraculously turn the company around. It was never properly communicated to Miller the extent of his job and its responsibilities. To further complicate the matter, Miller was an avid email user and thus communicated many times over email, which may not have been the best means of communication to discuss important business aspects. After being relieved of his duty, the Smith Financial Corporation was left in a “state of disbelief and shock” ( McJannet, Hattersely 2008). To their unfortunate, the Smith Financial Corporation was not only left without an assistant vice president and once again without a director of data management, but now left in $45,000 more in debt. To avoid such consequences a few simple strategies could have been placed to prevent such downfall. One strategy that could have been implemented is to have an evaluation period upon being hired for Mr. Miller. This period would act as a probation type period, in which the new employee would be evaluated every 2 weeks. The evaluation would be conducted by Brian Jones ( Vice President of Systems and Programming), and would look at how well Mr. Miller was fitting in at the corporation, and also look at any changes he has made and the resulting effects of them. Another effective strategy that could have been placed is to not wait 1 year to hire a new employee. One of the problems of the company was that it lacked the proper managerial leadership it needed, and thus when Mr. Miller came on board; he was probably given more power and responsibility than his job entailed. Finally, a third strategy that should have been placed is to ensure proper communication from day 1. Proper communication would entail a contract or meeting that described all of Mr. Miller’s responsibilities, his boundaries as assistant vice president, and the proper etiquette in writing emails to fellow employees. The above 3 strategies all could have been implemented in order to prevent such chaos. The first strategy, “ Bi – weekly” evaluation of Mr. Miller would have prevented many problems because it would forewarn the Vice President, Brian Jones, of the changes that Miller was trying to implement. Furthermore, by doing the evaluation, Jones could have gotten an insight into Miller’s personality traits and how he undermines others and their ideas. Strategy number 2 was not waiting a year to hire a new employee. If the company had not waited a year to hire a new employee, there could have been an easier transition for the new employee: meaning that the new employee had to simply take over the previous position and run things in fairly the same manner. Finally, strategy 3 was to ensure proper communication amongst the staff and Mr. Miller. By having a meeting once a week and discussing pertinent issues, many problems could have been prevented. Proper communication would also entail that each staff member would be forewarned about meeting etiquette, email etiquette, and general respect for others and their opinions. When placed in a managerial or leadership position, listening is a key. It is vital to listen to nonverbal and verbal messages, prevent barriers, exercise willingness and care. The best strategy that I believed that would have prevented the $45,000 dollar loss and have prevented so many people feeling alienated is to execute strategy 1. By going through with this strategy, Mr. Miller would have been evaluated bi weekly. To implement this strategy, I would have made Mr. Miller aware of the probation period. This period would be for the first month, in which I would evaluate Mr. Miller and his work bi weekly. The steps I would take to conduct the evaluation would be to hold bi weekly meetings, in which the other staff members and I would discuss the changes that Mr. Miller has implemented, and the resulting effects, and also analyze how Mr. Miller fits into the corporation. By getting everyone’s opinions about Mr. Miller early on, the corporation could have prevented losing a good employee as well as other employees feeling alienated. In addition, by holding this bi – weekly meetings, I would have had the ability to analyze the work that Mr. Miller had done and analyze if his work yielded the company profits or made the situation worst. For example, Mr. Miller wanted to do away with Lotus Notes early on in his career at Smith Corporation, I could have analyzed whether this plan was helping the staff be more efficient at their jobs or just putting more strain on them. Furthermore, another analyses could have been underwent to analyze the funds lost or gained by investing in the “push technology. ” After I evaluated Mr. Miller the first month, I would continue to oversee his doings and monitor his decisions to ensure the company was not losing other employees as well as profits. The end result would be to make sure if the company was yielding the return expected, and if not, ensuring that Miller was getting warning early on. If the warnings did not prove to cause any change, that termination would be the final answer. Though termination would not yield the results wanted, it would prevent major losses in the future of the company, and sometimes it is more important to consider the future and the implications thereof. Reference Dorobek, C.. (2009, June). The First Step Toward Collaboration Is to Stop E- Mailing. Signal, 63(10), 88. Retrieved September 16, 2009, from Research Library Core. Document ID: 1746998831). Hattersley, M. E. & McJannet, L. M. (2008). Management communication : Principles and practice (3rd ed. ). Boston: Irwin Richardson, D.. (2009, August). Leadership Communication in Chaotic Times. Of Counsel, 28(8), 10-13. Retrieved September 16, 2009, from ABI/INFORM Trade & Industry. (Document ID: 1839258761). Thaddeus McEwen. (1998). The impact of type and level of college degree on managerial communication competence. Journal of Education for Business, 73(6), 352-357. Retrieved September 15, 2009, from Business Module. (Document ID: 31702727).
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