Saturday, 4 August 2007

Create & Communicate Direction - a simple tool

The method/approach I am about to describe is an approach that I came accross during a leadership training course through the company I currently work with. This particular training focused on using the "Create & Communicate Direction" tool for doing exactly that with the team you managed. My finding is they obviously had taken a really handy tool and contextualised it to their local leadership needs.

My view is that this approach can be used in pretty much any communication scenario you can think of. In fact it is really handy when dealing with individuals or groups that are hard pressed for time.

What is the Create and Communicate Direction (CC&D) Tool?

CC&D is an approach to preparing structured communications. This preparation is carried out through answering four simple questions, Why? What? How? and finally So What (Next/If/Else)?

Why are you communicating? Why are you in the room, why did you are you taking up your audiences valuable time? Why is it important that you need to get the message through? What is the detail of the Why? What are the key points you need to convey? The Quality, Cost or time considerations etc.

How do you want you audience to respond to this message. Do you want them to simply be aware of your message, learn from it, make a decision or even pay for it. So What? Is the next activity? what if we don't take the advice or What else do we need.

How do you use CC&D?

I have two uses for CC&D, the first use is my personal use of the tool. This predominantly involves the use of a pen and piece of paper. Divide the page into four sections, title each quadrant appropriately. That is Why? What? How? (Next/If/else). Once you have done this work through and answer each of those questions.
Once you've run through answering the questions you can now decide on the medium that you wish to use to convey your message, is it an e-mail, a meeting a presentation or simply a chat over a coffee. You could also socialise this piece of paper with a peer or other interested parties to mature the message before you decide on the medium you will use with your target audience.

The second approach to using CC&D is as a coaching and consistency tool. by coaching your team to use this approach you will find a number of benefits. Firstly the communications you receive will become more consistent and clear. This approach to communicating within your team will subsequently extend to your teams interaction with other groups, business units, companies and customers.

So What Next/If/Else?

Put the practice to work, experiment within your day to day job. Remember the four questions Why? What? How? and So What? I suspect if you give this a go you will be pleasantly surprised. If you look back you'll find I've eaten my own cooking by applying the approach to this post.



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