The Magic Number 7
When I am working with Leadership Teams, I frequently hear leaders complain that they explained a decision, gave a direction or shared information with someone (i.e., a colleague, employee, vendor, customer), yet the desired effect or outcome was not achieved. They ask me or each other, “Why didn’t the person we were speaking with understand the situation?” or “Why didn’t they do what I said?” or “Why didn’t they know the answer to the question?”
The answer is simple—it’s all about communication. In EOS®we say you have to tell people something seven times before they hear it for the first time. Let me repeat that—you have to tell people something seven times before they hear it for the first time.
You may feel silly or even bored repeating yourself seven times—I get it. You can manage that by using a variety of media or approaches that will resonate with your teams. You know them best, so think about how people prefer to acquire information. Perhaps you have a company intranet, a Slack channel, a company bulletin board, weekly departmental Level-10 Meetings™, Quarterly Conversations™, a company newsletter, or share information via email. You can share the information through all seven channels ensuring, of course, the message is consistent across all channels to avoid confusion.
Where this is most important is around culture and vision—it is not uncommon for people to view these topics as a “flavor of the month.” Your employees may even express cynicism, either verbally or behaviorally. Repetition helps people learn we are sincere about culture and vision. Do they understand your culture and vision? Do you live your culture and vision?
Repeat. Relentlessly. Avoid the temptation of taking short cuts. You have to tell people something seven times before they hear it for the first time.
Do you feel like what you say is falling on deaf ears? You’re not alone. Let’s talk about how to change that and start becoming more efficient in your communication. EOS®can help. If you’d like to chat about the opportunities EOS®provides to streamline your communications processes, please fill out the consult form below to schedule a free phone call with me. No obligation and no pressure. EOS®provides the channels your business needs to ensure