Communication Pumps: improving remote coordination |

How communication pumps improve remote coordination

Posted by Luke Thomas

Every consultant in the world will tell you that communication is key when it comes to building a strong team. (Now that’ll be $500, please.)

Creating a system of communication channels that work in tandem with one another should be both automatedintegrated and be a byproduct of thought and intention. 

Let’s look at communication channels like a plumber might think about pipes that run throughout your home.

P.S - this is part 3 of the remote work mental models series. You can read the previous principle in this series - if it doesn't persist, it doesn't exist.

A plumbing analogy

The pipes inside your home lay the groundwork for the water to flow, but that’s only one piece of the puzzle. With pipes alone, there may be a trickle of water in one room and a raging river in another part. This lack of predictability creates chaos, which is why pumps exist.

You need these pumps to circulate the water or it won’t flow where it needs least on a predictable basis.

If you break down a water pump, it has a few clear benefits:

  • It’s automated. You don’t have to manually pump the water from one part of the home to another
  • It’s integrated. It plugs right into the pipes.
  • It’s a byproduct of thought and intention. The architect or plumber did a little planning beforehand and decided what was necessary to keep the water flowing.

What if we could apply the same principles to how we communicate at work?

Communication pumps help information flow

Now think about team and company communication in a similar manner. Think of Slack, Zoom, and email as communication pipes. These are tools that make it much more efficient to communicate with coworkers and connections. It’s never been easier to communicate online these days thanks to these wonderful tools.

These pipes have been laid, but now we need pumps to help us create order out of chaos.

You may run around from meeting to meeting (or Zoom calls) trying to figure out what’s going on. You may ask for written status reports every week from your direct reports. In an office environment, maybe you stop by people’s desks and annoy….errr ask them what they are working on.

What if you could predictably capture this information without needing to manually chase after it? What if the insights you capture from ad-hoc interactions and routine meetings could show up automatically instead?

That’s the power of a communication pump. It creates predictability where it didn't exist before. Great teams and businesses are predictable!

Lay this groundwork in advance to make sure that information, updates, and other important information flows up/down/across the team or company on a repeatable basis. After all, nobody likes a cold shower 😉

Want to see another remote work mental model? Jump to the next post in the series - poor visibility is a liability.

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