Church announcements are symptomatic of a common business problem. Leaders intend to communicate useful information but fail to make it understandable to all of the audience.
For example, this is the announcement made from the pulpit of my church yesterday: “If you are a first-time visitor, please tell us more about yourself by filling out the bottom of The First Cup and either put it in a giving box or visit Starting Point.”
Here is a clear test to make sure you aren’t speaking in code: Could a first-time guest understand exactly what you are saying if they knew nothing about your church?
Speaking in Financial Code
Well-intentioned business leaders make the same error as church leaders. They inadvertently assume everyone in the audience shares a common level of knowledge.
For example, with the intent of communicating clear goals for the coming year, a CEO says: “Our top three financial objectives for 2017 are to increase margins by 5%, improve cash flow and add at least 5% to our ROCE.”
Most employees have never had an accounting or finance course.
The Jack Howe Question
My dearly departed friend and mentor Jack Howe taught me a lot about business. When someone asked me a question I don’t understand, Jack taught me to reply “What do you mean by that?“ One of two things happens: (1) The questioner explains the question using simple language you now understand and can clearly answer; or, (2) They drop the question because they don’t understand what they’re asking.
Finance for Non-financial Employees
If your employees say “What do you mean by that?” when they’re given financial goals for 2017, give me a call. I’ll teach them how to read, interpret and use a Balance Sheet, Income Statement and Cash Flow report during a 1/2-day onsite workshop.
To request a free workshop agenda email TomPryor@icms.net .