If CEOs count communication skills as central to leadership, how much do you and your organization invest in developing them?
The cover story of the July 2005 issue of Business 2.0 magazine describes an unpublished set of business guidelines in an article titled, "The CEO's Secret Handbook":
"It started decades ago as flashes of insight scribbled on loose scraps of paper. Then it morphed into a PowerPoint presentation that distilled years of business wisdom into a handful of easy-to-remember aphorisms. Last year it became a 76-page spiral-bound booklet clad in a plain gray cover. Eventually, Warren Buffett received a copy -- and liked it so much that he asked for dozens more to give to his CEOs, friends, and family.
"The tiny handbook has become an underground hit among senior executives and management thinkers. Written by Bill Swanson, CEO of aerospace contractor Raytheno, Swanson's Unwritten Rules of Management is part Ben Franklin and part Yogi Berra, with a dash of Confucius thrown in."
How often do communication skills pop up in the list? Out of the complete list of 25 rules, here are at least five:
- Don't be timid; speak up. Express yourself, and promote your ideas.
- Practice shows that those who speak the most knowingly and confidently often end up with the assignment to get it done.
- Strive for brevity and clarity in oral and written reports.
- Be extremely careful of the accuracy of your statements.
- Cultivate the habit of "boiling matters down" to the simplest terms. An elevator speech is the best way.
With at least 20% of the top 25 skills directly related to communication skills, it makes sense for any organization to invest at least 20% of its training budget to developing them.