The Importance of Communication Skills
The importance of communication is critical in today’s competitive world.
Leaders must communicate to create new or better awareness and achieve common understanding!
While there are many different communication concepts, perhaps less known is the idea of intent. The commander’s intent is a concept practiced by all military commanders, which highlights the importance of communication.
The Commander’s Intent
The commander’s intent is a clear, concise statement of what you must do to achieve success. It is what you must do to move from the current state to the desired end state. Intent is not about giving specific instructions or restating the task at hand. Instead, it is about focusing the team on the overarching objectives, a key purpose of communication.
Let’s review this concept by exploring what Lieutenant General (LTG) William “Gus” Pagonis, Director of Logistics during the Gulf War. Pagonis was widely recognized for his logistical achievements in 1991, when given the responsibility to deploy U.S. Forces to the Gulf for Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.
Within the first 30 days of Operation Desert Shield, LTG Pagonis needed to move the equivalent of a city’s worth of people and all of their belongings to Saudi Arabia. In the next 60 days, he would have to repeat that same feat a half-dozen times more. This was only a fraction of the tests that lay ahead of him.
In his book, Moving Mountains, he demonstrates his intent and why everyone needs to understand and support broader organizational goals.
- Why was LTG Pagonis so successful?
Achieving Common Understanding
LTG Pagonis would not have performed so ably had he not assembled a team of competent leaders that shared his view and could relate to his leadership style.
LTG Pagonis had a head start. As a part of the military culture, everyone on his team supported the Army’s core leadership values, which enabled because his team to focus on his vision for the organization. They were able to interpret his commander’s intent every step of the way, take the initiative, and exploit a number of potential opportunities that came along.
Ultimately, LTG Pagonis’ leadership team was able to achieve success over seemingly insurmountable odds because they were able to eliminate a number of obstacles that typically hinder an organization’s ability to achieve teamwork in the workplace.
- Are your purpose and vision clear to your team?
- Are your company values contributing to teamwork and collaboration?
- Is your mission statement aligned and on target?
By clearly expressing your intent so that is aligned with your mission, vision, and values, you make clear the importance of communication.
Tom Crea is a leadership expert, decorated career Army Officer, and Blackhawk Helicopter pilot. Because of his proven skills, he was hand selected to run the Army’s leadership development program at two Boston colleges, where he and his team transformed college students into combat leaders.
Tom has a B.S. & M.C.S. in Computer Science and a M.A. in Political Science and loves coaching basketball and spending time with his wife and two boys.
Creating a Culture:
Tom’s proudest leadership moment came when his unit was called to war in Iraq after he had rotated out. His replacement was not able to perform, so members he developed stepped up to lead; they attribute their success to the leadership Tom instilled in each of them. Today, the Blackhawk leadership way.