Fostering Workplace Coherence
It can be a challenge to know that things aren't going well and not know where to begin. What if the real problem is that you don't have a universal language to quickly recognize and address issues before they escalate?
When issues arise, it's easier to move forward productively when the team speaks the same language. Instead of being a deer caught in the headlights, unsure of where to turn or what to do, or scrambling for answers, sufficient vocabulary brings the team together and gives a direct route to clarity, ideas, and solutions.
One Term Gives Information & Direction
I identified the term "workplace coherence” to give employees the vocabulary to quickly and easily describe how things are going and what to do next. If someone on the team says, "I recognize low coherence," others know that something is not working well, and they automatically know the necessary next steps.
Workplace Coherence Defined
I defined workplace coherence as "a state of real connection with open, clear, and efficient communication of a unified whole."
There's a definitive correlation between workplace coherence and communication
High coherence is a sign that communication is sufficient
Low coherence indicates insufficient or ineffective communication
The state of the work environment is affected by the quality and level of communication, thereby influencing connection
The goal isn’t to be in high coherence all the time, but to have the strategies and skills needed to recognize low coherence and take the best action to move to high coherence. This leads to natural connection and successful, consistent collaboration.
Insufficient or poor communication leads to challenges and issues because it directly or indirectly affects all aspects of the work environment. Take that in for a second.
Communication has a tremendous impact on, well, everything. The great news is that solid communication activates a ripple effect, positively influencing every facet of work. And addressing multiple issues and concerns is simplified into one action: improve communication.
I’m not referring to an overhaul of communication systems or changing internal or external company messaging, but an improvement in interpersonal and intrapersonal communication.
Where do we begin?
Start by being completely honest with yourself about your current work status so you can take the best action. Which undesirable outcomes are you or your team experiencing?
Lots of meetings & minimal time to get work done
Mistakes, missed deadlines, or low performance
Low efficiencies & increased costs
Demotivated or unproductive
Conflict, distrust, or unresolved problems
Low morale, health, & well-being
Undesirable outcomes are a sign of low workplace coherence. This also means there's poor communication and room for improvement in how you and your colleagues approach and navigate conversations. Poor outcomes is just one of seven coherence factors I’ve identified to make it easier for individuals and teams to recognize low coherence, and, thus, ineffective communication.
It may be a tough pill to swallow to realize that communication within your team isn’t ideal, but it's a great start. It gives you valuable information, providing awareness and knowledge for better solutions. Information and knowledge are incredibly powerful, resulting in proactivity and forward momentum.
Let's look at some causes of undesirable outcomes to give insight into roadblocks you and your team might be facing.
Confusion without taking necessary steps to gain clarity
Misunderstanding without engagement
Miscommunication without recognition and correction
Unaware that there’s a problem
Since insufficient, unclear, or inefficient communication lead to unfavorable results and outcomes, identifying poor communication, a problem often unconsciously missed, resisted, or denied, is crucial for improvement and change. It prompts the following, “Maybe it's more productive to adopt new language that shapes real connection than to add more meetings, with perceived connection, to the calendar."
Adopting a universal language gives you the time, energy, and resources to do your best work. It doesn't always take physical changes to get back to enjoying work again and performing your best; it takes a new approach—a new language that evokes a shift in perspective and creates significant shifts for real, positive change.
Learning & Development Trainer | Executive Coach
Specializing in Workplace Coherence & Communication
About the Author
Monica Binger provides personal and professional development training and coaching to individuals and teams looking to improve communication and increase coherence so they'll have quality interactions and improve their work and personal success and well-being.