7-2 BOLDFlash Milestone Three: Training
The primary target audience for the revised internal business processes is the management team of BOLDFLASHs Mobile Division, with the overall employee body of the division being the secondary audience. The management staff is ultimately responsible for making strategic and business decisions, and deciding upon effective processes that allow their division to meet its goals. Thus, their choices and actions directly affect the staff beneath them.
As was noted prior, Cahill found that There was a lot of unproductive conflict between the functional departments, particularly around the product development process. Manufacturing was the dominant function and seemed to be pulling its weight, but overall he saw a division that was underperforming and struggled with communication and teamwork (Beer & Shelton, 2012). As has been established, this resulted in sub-par and harmful business processes being instituted due to this mindset.
This is why the division staff will have to be retrained. They will need to be trained on the new processes and methods to ensure a productive switchover while also removing this pointless us versus them mindset that has taken root in the departments.
It must be remembered that the management is a low-tech audience, and it is imperative that all communications and training be kept clear and concise. The management team should also receiving training on how to better facilitate communication between the departments to break the aforementioned mindset.
With this in mind, any technical terms must be defined immediately after they are used, and background information provided where appropriate. Further, the methods that will be used to assist with this will be instructor-led training, interactive methods, and online learning. There are numerous methods and materials available to help you prepare and equip employees to better do their jobs. Indeed, with so many choices out there, it can be daunting to determine which methods to use and when to use them. And using several methods for each training session may actually be the most effective way to help employees learn and retain information (Nadeem, 2015), as was noted prior in the training plan.
According to Cahill, he found that I did not see the strong leadership that I would expect from a team with this much talent. The meeting lasted two days, yet I had a hard time summarizing what we had accomplished (Beer & Shelton, 2012). Further, according to Karl Melzer, the head of Market Development, regarding the divisions business processes: This process lacks discipline and focus I get very frustrated every time I have to sit in one of those meetings when I could be working on my research. I hope that Roger will hold us to our goals instead of moving the finish line if we dont make them (Beer & Shelton, 2012). Thus, the message must be clear, concise, and relevant to the heads of each department. The message must ultimately focus on why their current policies, processes, and mindset are harmful to their departments and the division overall. As Cahill noted, The miss in the tablet market had really devastated the group. Morale was low, margins were squeezed, and tempers were starting to fray. If Cahills group didnt introduce successful new products quickly, the divisions future would be on the line. It might not survive its next miss (Beer & Shelton, 2012). This must be impressed upon them. Their division cannot afford another severe misstep like the one it has already suffered.
Moreover, there are some very specific guidelines the management team must follow as part of their training where writing technical communications is concerned. First, they must learn how to properly analyze their audience. This is the single most important part of good technical communication, and it is something with which the division struggles. To optimize your communication, you will need to know not only who your audience is, but also what they need from your communication task (Understand Your Audience, n.d.). This is important to providing clear and concise communications that has a message that is relevant to your audience. Second, as part of that effort they must learn to identify the information that is required by their audience. They need to understand that not everyone has the same level or type of technical knowledge as they do. Engineers in other fields, for instance, may have specialized knowledge, but may not understand your area of expertise. They will need some background information. Your boss, on the other hand, has some understanding of your topic, and is most interested in the nature of your work. He or she primarily wants to hear progress or results (Understand Your Audience, n.d.).
Third, they need to learn to determine appropriate communication channels to best reach their audience. The purpose of a communication strategy is to reach as much of your target audience as possible. As with the process of developing information, you can use marketing demographic information to determine the best mediums for delivering your message. For example, if your marketing research shows that your target audience gets information from the radio more often than from the Internet, then your communication strategy will focus on using the radio to deliver the message (Root III, n.d.) Thus, management needs to understand that email is not a catch all solution for communicating information, and that memos are not the most effective method of communication either. Memo is short for memorandum, which refers to a reminder or a notification of an important item. Memos are often sent to notify staff members about a meeting or new policy the company feels is important enough to warrant more than word-of-mouth dissemination. Memos are often informal, with less attention to structure, formatting, grammar and, in the case of printed memos, paper quality (Ashe-Edmunds, 2019).
Finally, they need to learn to revise their communications before sending them out as this helps avoid and correct very basic issues. Revision is a necessary part of the writing process and is a must to ensure that information is delivered in a concise and clear manner. If a proper revision process were followed, it would greatly improve the clarity of the divisions communications.
The product enhancement memo from the divisions Marketing department seems to be a good place to start regarding critiquing and improving the divisions communications overall, as it is in desperate need of improvement. This message uses very departmentally focused language and lacks needed details and a defined action that is required on the part of the audience. It also uses idioms and puns which are unprofessional. Both of these problems only serve to confuse matters. This highlights another issue with the memo; it does not take its target audience into account well, which is problematic as the memo was sent to all other department heads in the division. This can lead to miscommunication, which will cost the division time, money, resources, and more of its already ailing reputation. As has been stated, the division cannot afford mistakes such as this to be constantly happening. The memo is unclear and unconcise, which makes it difficult to read, and it reads like it is trying to impress the other department heads.
As was noted, the memo makes heavy use of idioms and other unprofessional jargon. The memo uses language such as rock the boat and attempts at humor such generate some flash (Appendix C) and makes references to looking for more enhancements to existing products (Appendix C). However, there is absolutely no mention made as to how these enhancements will benefit the product and the company as a whole. Further, although there is a sense of urgency within the memo overall, there is no call to action or deadline, which would leave the reader wondering what action is expected of them or if theyre expected to undertake an action at all. This is problematic as a call to action, such as asking the reader to put the date of the coming meeting on her calendar or to pursue the action recommended in the memo (Ashe-Edmunds, 2019) is required as it gives the reader a clear indication of what is expected of them as well as when it is expected the required action will be completed.
Adaptation Examples: New Communication Artifact
Continuing with the Marketing memo as an example, the above specified guidelines will be applied in an effort to rewrite it into an effective means of communication. First, the audience must be taken into account. In this case, it is the heads of the other departments, and specifically why they are being contacted, so first the subject line must be addressed. Then the information that is most pertinent to the audience must be identified. Next the appropriate communication channel must be chosen to disseminate the information. In this case, a formal letter sent out to the other departments would be appropriate. Finally, the document must undergo revision as necessary to improve it and correct any errors. The finished product should look similar to this example:
From: Kavita Patel Director, Marketing
Subject: Ongoing effort to determine product enhancements
Marketing has recently received an impressive amount of customer feedback regarding potential enhancements to our new flash memory components. We are also investigating the enhancements being produced by our competitors and the market interest they produce.
My staff will be writing a report to identify which enhancements have been requested for our product lines. In an effort to reduce developmental and production issues, I will be meeting with all other department heads in the division within the next two weeks to best determine which enhancements best align with our overall business strategy. These will be the focus of our next development cycle.
I believe this effort will help renew customer interest in our products while streamlining the development process by helping to focus it. If there are any questions or concerns, please contact me directly.
In summary: Marketing will provide a detailed report concerning the most requested enhancements and those in production by our competitors. Department heads will then meet to determine which of the proposed enhancements will be most cost-effective. All questions should be directed to [email protected] All department heads should email me with available meeting times so I can schedule meetings within the next two weeks.
KavitaAdaptation Examples: Explanation
The first step was to identify the audience. This was easy as it has already been established the communication was intended for the heads of the other departments and they need relevant information. However, the subject line was generic and non-indicative, which would leave the recipients wondering what to expect from this message. In turn, this would only increase the chances of the message being ignored. The subject line should be as clear as the rest of the document so the audience knows what to expect. The next step was identifying the overall message which must be concise and relevant so the recipients can act upon it in a timely manner. Here, background information needed to be provided along with the outlining of a specific action required on the part of the recipients. Within the context of the memo, the other managers needed to know what steps Marketing was taking in their efforts to determine customer needs and better read the market. The third step was to determine which channel of communication to use. As was mentioned above, sending out a formal letter to the department heads is likely the best method in this instance, as it is less likely to be ignored compared to other channels. Memos are far more informal, and in this instance the communication needs to be formal. Further, another channel of communication for this document would be to put it on a company intranet site or wiki as an alternative means of conveying it, alongside sending it to the department heads directly as wikis make communication smooth and collaboration fruitful, it can efficiently boost productivity of each employee and streamline operations on a larger scale. Still, this only applies to internal knowledge bases that are properly structured (Singh, 2017). Finally, the entire document had to be revised from its initial version. Take note that there is no use of idioms, colloquialisms or attempts at humor. It is also much more detailed and focused overall about the steps being taken as compared to the original text.
To outline and summarize the methods and analyses required for primary audience training or retraining, it is first necessary to identify the audience. In this case the primary audience at BOLDFlash is the management team, its team leader and other subsidiary departments, e.g. manufacturing or market development, which over time may change to include all and any other department members. This may include the overall employee base. Once the primary group is in focus and identified it will be necessary to determine the message intended to be communicated. Such a message must be intrinsic to the goals and operation of the company at large, especially management. In addition, the method for delivering the message must be analyzed carefully because with so many choices, e.g., internet, memo, email, letter, or even radio, the medium often becomes part of the message. In this case the communication strategy will rely on marketing research which will be used to determine the best, most suitable method for delivering the message to the targeted audience. Finally, there is attention paid to editing. This will make the message, relevant, concise, professional and to the point. The method to best accomplish this is training in writing and exercises in critiquing intended communications to avoid nonstandard uses of the language.
Finally, adaptation examples will be formulated based upon previous memo communications. The new specified guidelines will be employed to revise the identified substandard memo and the revised document will be included along with the new directives. Accompanying this, there will be an explanation portion in which there are further clarifications and reasons given for the additional changes to the document as first adapted. In the documents final revised form, it is much more formal and different from its original casual, nonspecific, unprofessional language. Consequently, once all these steps are followed, the management team will be well qualified to communicate well within BOLDFlash.
Appendix C- BOLDFlash Internal Business Process Artifacts.Product enhancements. Retrieved from S. (2019.). The Difference Between A Business Memo & A Business Letter.
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