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Thanks to modern technology, it’s never been easier for us to communicate. We can talk to each other over the phone, text, email, live chat – with so many channels and platforms, you’d think we’d be better about talking to each other, right?

Unfortunately, this proliferation of technology can sometimes have the opposite effect. Not only that, but the breakneck pace of modern business can lead to a substantial breakdown in communication and alignment.

Brandon Smith is a world-renowned executive coach, also known as the “Workplace Therapist.” He’s worked with businesses large and small, and he understands why these breakdowns happen and how to fix them. According to the guru, here’s why companies can be so dysfunctional behind the scenes.

Efficiency vs. Effectiveness

All workers, from those at the bottom of the food chain to middle and upper management, strive to be as efficient as possible. There are only so many hours in the day, and so much work to get done that speed is the most valuable skill. However, just because you’re fast at something doesn’t mean you’re doing it the right way.

According to Brandon, misalignment and miscommunication occur when the leadership team trades effectiveness for efficiency. Rather than ensuring clarity of their message and intent, they focus solely on getting the work done as fast as possible. Everything is urgent, and time is the most valuable resource. Once companies can recognize that effectiveness is as vital (or more) than efficiency, they can start to turn things around.

Adapting to Individual and Corporate Needs

For smaller businesses, communication is easy because there are only so many people that need to be kept in the loop. As that company grows, however, each new addition creates an exponential web of communication. Each member needs to be able to talk to everyone else, which can make things complicated super fast.

Part of Brandon’s work as an executive coach is to determine the needs of everyone within the business. Sometimes, it’s one manager that’s causing problems. Other times, there could be a systemic breakdown that needs to be addressed.

One simple way to figure out the right approach is with best-case and worst-case scenarios. The pain of a worst-case option will motivate many workers. For example, knowing that their reputation or job is at stake. For others, best-case scenarios are a better motivator, as they are more encouraging and rewarding.

Coaching is the Key to Success

No matter how big a company is, workplace dysfunction can spell disaster. In most cases, having an outsider come in to help change course and change the corporate atmosphere is the best solution to get back on track. Otherwise, things can continue to spiral out of control, leading to a collapse of the organization itself.

To find out more about Brandon, check out our podcast here, and see his work at theworkplacetherapist.com.