In other instances, failure occurs because the initial communication wasn’t clearly thought out, making it so hard to understand that it either gets ignored or fails to accomplish its goal.
Unfortunately, in today’s multitasking world, you can’t always be sure everyone is actually paying attention to everything you’re telling them. Using clear, concise communication is key; without it, you won’t be able to clearly present yourself, your ideas, or your services to your company or your clients.
Case Studies of Failure
In a recent Hurley Write blog post, we discussed How the Toyota Recall Exemplifies Communication Failure in the Workplace. Toyota, rather than let the public know the real reason behind the Camry recall, told one story to dealers about an electrical issue, and later another story, about stuck floor mats, to consumers. When the public finally learned that the floor mats were only one part of the problem, they were infuriated. The outrage spread to include investigations by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and Congress.
If only Toyota had handled the situation by effectively communicating with all parties involved. This is especially key in today’s social media-based world, where most people get their news in 140 characters and takes only the click of the “like” or “share” button for a story to grow out of control.
Toyota isn’t the only company to have experienced the backlash of a communication failure. In the past few years, companies like BP and UPS have all come under fire.
In 2010, The Guardian published an article stating that the White House oil spill commission found that “Bad management and a communications breakdown by BP and its Macondo well partners caused the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.” This lack of communication and failure to share information doomed the Deepwater Horizon, which ended up costing more than just money: it also cost lives.
For UPS, its epic fail came during the busiest shipping time of the year: the holidays. The company announced on December 24, 2013, that thousands of packages that were supposed to be delivered that day were not going to arrive. What made the situation worse was their blasé response, “Demand was just higher than we forecasted.” So much for logistics.
While these mishaps may make for hilarious fodder on Saturday Night Live or inspire new Internet memes, it can end up costing companies millions and ruin their reputation. Learning to avoid these types of communication failures is the key to the success and future of your company.
To find out more about how you and your company can avoid these types of communication failures, visit hurleywrite.com to see our full list of writing courses.
We want to hear from you. Share your thoughts on how to avoid bad communication on Facebook and Twitter.