Closing the Communication Gap : An Effective Method for Achieving Desired Results book cover
1st Edition

Closing the Communication Gap
An Effective Method for Achieving Desired Results

ISBN 9781466574885
Published October 16, 2013 by Productivity Press
316 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Improved communication in business means higher profits. Improved communication in government means happier citizens. Improved communication in healthcare means quicker recoveries, fewer lawsuits, and happier nurses and patients.

Closing the Communication Gap can help readers improve communication by closing the gap between what the communicator means and what the listener actually understands. It supplies a complete overview of the various elements and dimensions of effective communication needed to stop talking and start communicating.

Defining and discussing both the formal and the informal communication systems within an organization, the book demonstrates the importance of good communication and details the four types of poor-quality communication. It explains how to create a climate of communication in your organization. It describes how this climate of communication encourages the development of quality relationships as well as what it takes to maintain this culture of communication.

After reading this book, you will understand how to be a better listener, how to use social media in marketing, how to deal with difficult people, and helpful tips for public speaking. You will gain valuable insights on how to talk to your employees, how to talk to your boss, and the best ways to communicate with a corporation.

This book can be read for personal growth or it can be used by a company to teach employees the importance of quality communication. Quality assurance departments will find this book useful in lowering errors and waste in the workplace. The book is also suitable as a communication textbook or supplemental text at the introductory university level.

If a corporation were a person, communication would be the bloodstream.
—Lee Iacocca, Former CEO, Chrysler Corporation

Table of Contents

Good Talk, More Money
Poor-Quality Communication
     Withholding Information
Quality Communication
Communication and Language
Quality Relationships
Virtues, Integrity, and Trust
Lifelong Learning

What Happens When Two People Talk—At Work?
The Basic Scoop on the Communication Loop
     Meet the Loop
     An Autopsy of the Loop
     The Loop Has Soul
     The Loop Has Issues
     The Loop Has Culture
The Formal Loop and Its Shadow
     Get Loopy with a Network of Communication Loops
Networks of Loops Loop in Different Directions
     Random Communication
     Downward Communication
     Upward Communication
     Lateral Communication
The Complexity of Formal Networks of Communication Loops
Shadow Loops
     How to Use the Informal Communication
     Network, Also Known as the Shadow Loop

How Do You Talk to Your Boss?
Nothing to Fear But Fear
     The Downside of Fear
     The Good Side of Fear
     Facing Fear
Plan the Whole Process
     The Meeting
     Concluding the Meeting
     Execute the Plan
     Follow-up to the Meeting with Your Boss

How Do You Talk to Your Employees?
Create an Environment of Openness and Trust by First Being a Listener
     Tell Them Why
     Do It with a Smile
     Adopt a New Philosophy about Organizations and Employees
     Adopt a New Philosophy about Management
     Listen with Your Eyes as Well as Your Ears
     Listen to the Person and Not Just the Employee
     Listen to the Behavior over a Period of Time
     Listen to Themes, to Metaphors, and to What Is Conspicuously Not Discussed
     Listen to Learn
Create an Environment of Openness and Trust by Becoming an Effective Communicator
     Talk to Your Employees
          One on One
          In a Group
     Write to Your Employees
          Town Meetings
          E-mails, Blogs, and a Tip of the Hat to Texting
Understand Your Employees
     Personality Type of Each Employee
     Variables Style Management
     Five-Way Communication
     Communication Channels
     Body Language

How Do I Hear What My Teammates Are Really Saying?
Rugged Individualism Dies with the Team
     What Makes a Standout Leader?
     The Team Takes Precedence over the Individual
     Maturity Is Imperative for Good Teamwork
     The Ancients Were Right
          Know Thyself
          Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You
Use the Feedback Loop
     Listen to Your Teammate
     Repeat Back
     Listen to the Feedback
     Repeat the Feedback Loop for a Second Time
     Use the Feedback Loop with Verbal and Written Team Communication
Discuss Feelings and Body Language
     Listening Filters
     The Johari Window
     Three Rules in Dealing with Emotions in a Team Setting
Use the Shadow Communication Loop to Further the Team Mission
     Talking at the Water Cooler
     Use the Shadow Loop to Further the Team’s Progress
Hearing Is Nested in a Relationship with Four Stages
     Developing Role Clarity: Developing Expectations and Gathering Information
     Commitment to the Relationship of Boss/Member of Staff
     Stability and Productivity for a Period of Time
     Experiencing a Pinch in the Relationship
     Dealing with the Pinches in the Relationship Is Crucial
     Dealing with Them Immediately and Effectively Maintains Healthy Relationships
     Ignoring Pinches in Relationships Leads to Disruption and Conflict
          Problems to Solve
          Disagreement and Efforts to Save Face
          Contest Stage and Efforts to Win
          Fight/Flight Stage: Eliminate or Harm the Character of the Other Side
          Holy War: The Object Is to Destroy
Restoring a Relationship
     Ennui: Settling for the Status Quo and Limbo
     Mute Termination: Quit Job or Fire Employee or Staff Member
     Pretending to Fix the Relationship: Premature Reconciliation
     Unplanned Renegotiation of a Relationship under Extreme Stress
     Ending the Relationship

How Do I Hear What My Boss Is Really Saying?
Learn to See the Nonverbal Message If You Want to Really Hear Your Boss
If Your Boss Believes in You, He or She Will Trust and Therefore Tell You More
     What the Boss Sees Determines What You Get
          Eye Contact (Oculesics)
          Posture and Movement (Kinesics)
          Dress and Appearance (Objectics)
          Gestures and Smile (Kinesics)
What the Boss Feels Determines What You Get
     Voice and Vocal Variety (Vocalics)
     Words and Nonwords (Verbal Technique and Chronemics)
     Boss Involvement (Objectics)
     Humor (Verbal Technique Using Kinesics, Vocalics, Chronemics)
What Is Neurolinguistic Programming?
Your Boss Will Tell You More When You Tune in to His Favorite NLP Channel
     Check Out Your Boss’s Predicates to Learn His or Her Channel
     Check Out Your Boss’s Eye Movements to Learn His or Her NLP Channel
     You Can Have Empathy, Sympathy, and Harmony with Your Boss
Check Your Boss’s Gestures, Signals, and Other Telltale Actions
     Proxemics: Give Your Boss His or Her Space
     Kinesics: Your Boss’s Body Movements Have Meaning 
     Hand to Face
     Folded Arms
     Crossed Legs
     Eye Signals
The Boss’s Arrangement of Furniture

What Do I Say to a Difficult Person or a Bully?
Do Not Avoid or Ignore Difficult People
     The Dictatorial Personality
     The Know-It-Alls
     The Passive–Aggressive Personality
     The Whiner
     The Downers
     The People Pleaser
     The Nonparticipant
Do Not "Pass the Buck"
Use a Procedure to Handle Difficult People
Use Group Learning Tools to Handle Difficult People
Use Early Warning Skills and Prevention to Handle Difficult People
Use Techniques to Handle Difficult People
Use Fairness and Consistency to Handle Difficult People
Use the Company’s Counseling and Mental Health Services to Handle Difficult People
Use Directness and Power to Handle Difficult People

How Do I Talk to My Customers?
Treat All People with Respect
Without Customers, You Are Out of Business
Listen to Your Customers
     Look Them in the Eye
     Use Friendly Body Language
     Give Feedback and Ask for Feedback
     Do Not Escalate an Angry Situation
Use Personality Types to Determine Your Communication Strategy

How Do I Communicate to a Corporation from the Outside?
Understand and Respect the Corporation’s Culture
Understand the Corporation’s Personality
Understand the Corporation’s Formal Communication System
Understand the Corporation’s Shadow Communication System
Understand the Corporation’s Environment and Its Pressure/Stress Points
Plan a Communication Strategy
Implement the Plan
Evaluate and Improve the Procedure

How Do I Communicate to a Corporation from the Inside?
Introducing Systems Thinking and the Learning Organization
Understand that a Corporation Is a System
Understand that a System Has Characteristics
Understand that an Individual Within a System Must Develop a System Mindset
System Archetypes Have Been Identified that People
Who Communicate Within Systems Must Understand
How Do You Communicate Well in a System?

How Does a Corporation Use Social Media to Communicate?
The Rapid Prominence of Social Media
The Characteristics of Social Media
The Tools of Social Media and Their Uses
The Steps to a Corporate Voice in the Social Media Arena
The Use of Social Media with High-Performance Teams

Social Communication in the Workplace
Decide to Become Social
Become Objective about Yourself
Discover Your Reason for Being
Know When to Shut Up
Use Social Communication in a Group or Team Setting
Use Social Communication in Public Speaking
What Happened to Sid?

Interviewing Guidelines
Planning the Interview
     Interview Guide Preparation
     Selecting the People to Interview
     Scheduling the Interview
     Location of the Interview
     Inviting the Interviewees
     What Is in It for the Interviewee?
Appearance in the Interview
Recording the Interview
The Interview
Interview Follow-up
Gaining Rapport during the Interview
Interview Techniques for Gaining Highest-Quality Information
     Unspecified Nouns
     Unspecific Verbs
     Words Implying Necessity
     Universal Quantifiers
     Cause and Effect
After the Interview

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In the book, Tech Trending (Amy Zuckerman, Capstone, 2001), Dr. H. James Harrington was cited as "the quintessential tech trender." The New York Times referred to him as having a "knack for synthesis and an open mind about packaging his knowledge and experience in new ways—characteristics that may matter more as prerequisites for new-economy success than technical wizardry." The author Tom Peters stated, "I fervently hope that Harrington’s readers will not only benefit from the thoroughness of his effort but will also ‘smell’ the fundamental nature of the challenge for change that he mounts." William Clinton, past president of the United States, appointed Dr. Harrington to serve as an ambassador of goodwill. It has been said about him, "He writes the books that other consultants use." Harrington Institute was featured on a half-hour TV program, Heartbeat of America, which focuses on outstanding small businesses that make America strong. The host, William Shatner, stated "You [Dr. Harrington] manage an entrepreneurial company that moves America forward. You are obviously successful."

Dr. Harrington now serves as the chief executive officer for the Harrington Institute. He also serves as the chairman of the board for a number of businesses. Dr. Harrington is recognized as a world leader in applying performance improvement methodologies to business processes. He has an excellent record of coming into an organization, working as its chief executive officer (CEO) or chief operating officer (COO), resulting in a major improvement in its financial and quality performance.

In February 2002, Dr. Harrington retired as the COO of Systemcorp A.L.G., the leading supplier of knowledge management and project management software solutions when Systemcorp was purchased by IBM. Prior to that, he had served as a principal and one of the leaders in the Process Innovation Group at Ernst & Young; he retired from Ernst & Young when the company was purchased by Cap Gemini. Dr. Harrington had initially joined Ernst & Young when it purchased Harrington, Hurd & Rieker, a consulting firm that Dr. Harrington started. Before that, Dr. Harrington was with IBM for more than 40 years as a senior engineer and project manager.

Dr. Harrington is past chairman and past president of the prestigious International Academy for Quality (IAQ) and of the American Society for Quality Control (ASQC). He is also an active member of the Global Knowledge Economics Council.

H. James Harrington was elected to the honorary level of the (IAQ), which is the highest level of recognition in the quality profession. He is a government-registered quality engineer, a Certified Quality and Reliability Engineer by the ASQC, and a Permanent Certified Professional Manager by the Institute of Certified Professional Managers. He is a certified Master Six Sigma Black Belt and received the title of Six Sigma Grand Master. H. James Harrington has an MBA and PhD in engineering management and a BS in electrical engineering.

Dr. Harrington’s contributions to performance improvement around the world have brought him many honors. He was appointed the honorary advisor to the China Quality Control Association and was elected to the Singapore Productivity Hall of Fame in 1990. He has been named lifetime honorary president of the Asia-Pacific Quality Control Organization and honorary director of the Association Chilean de Control de Calidad. In 2006, he accepted the honorary chairman position of Quality Technology Park of Iran.

Dr. Harrington has been elected a Fellow of the British Quality Control Organization and the American Society for Quality Control. In 2008, he was elected to be an Honorary Fellow of the Iran Quality Association and Azerbaijan Quality Association. He was also elected an honorary member of the quality societies in Taiwan, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Singapore. He is also listed in the Who’s Who Worldwide and Men of Distinction Worldwide. He has presented hundreds of papers on performance improvement and organizational management structure at the local, state, national, and international levels.

  • The Harrington/Ishikawa Medal, presented yearly by the Asian Pacific Quality Organization (APQO), was named after H. James Harrington to recognize his many contributions to the region.
  • The Harrington/Neron Medal was named after H. James Harrington in 1997 for his many contributions to the quality movement in Canada.
  • Harrington Best TQM Thesis Award was established in 2004 and named after H. James Harrington by the European Universities Network and e-TQM College.
  • The Harrington Chair in Performance Excellence was established in 2005 at the Sudan University.
  • The Harrington Excellence Medal was established in 2007 to recognize an individual who uses the quality tools in a superior manner.
  • The H. James Harrington Scholarship was established in 2011 by the American Society for Quality (ASQ) Inspection Division.

H. James Harrington has received many awards, among them the Benjamin L. Lubelsky Award, the John Delbert Award, the Administrative Applications Division Silver Anniversary Award, and the Inspection Division Gold Medal Award. In 1996, he received the Lancaster Award of the American Society of Quality Control in recognition of his international activities. In 2001, he received the Magnolia Award in recognition for the many contributions he has made in improving quality in China. In 2002, H. James Harrington was selected by the European Literati Club to receive a lifetime achievement award at the Literati Award for Excellence ceremony in London. The award was given to honor his excellent literature contributions to the advancement of quality and organizational performance. Also in 2002, H. James Harrington was awarded the International Academy of Quality President’s Award in recognition for outstanding global leadership in quality and competitiveness and contributions to IAQ as Nominations Committee chair, vice president, and chairman.

In 2003, H. James Harrington received the Edwards Medal from the ASQ. The Edwards Medal is presented to the individual who has demonstrated the most outstanding leadership in the application of modern quality control methods, especially through the organization and administration of such work. In 2004, he received the Distinguished Service Award, which is ASQ’s highest award for service granted by the society. In 2008, Dr. Harrington was awarded the Sheikh Khalifa Excellence Award (UAE) in recognition of his superior performance as an original quality and excellence guru who helped shape modern quality thinking. In 2009, Dr. Harrington was selected as the Professional of the Year (2009). Also in 2009, he received the Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University Medal. In 2010, the Asian Pacific Quality Organization awarded Dr. Harrington the APQO President’s Award for his "exemplary leadership." The Australian Organization of Quality NSW’s board recognized him as the "Global Leader in Performance Improvement Initiatives" in 2010.

In 2011, he was honored to receive the Shanghai Magnolia Special Contributions Award from the Shanghai Association for Quality in recognition of his 25 years of contributing to the advancement of quality in China. This was the first time that this award was given. In 2012, Dr. Harrington received the ASQ Ishikawa Medal for his many contributions in promoting the understanding of process improvement and employee involvement on the human aspects of quality at the local, national, and international levels. Also in 2012, he was awarded the Jack Grayson Award. This award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the application of quality philosophy, methods and tools in education, healthcare, public service, and not-for-profit organizations.

Harrington also received the A. C. Rosander Award in 2012. This is ASQ Service Quality Division’s highest honor. It is given in recognition of outstanding long-term service and leadership resulting in substantial progress toward the fulfillment of the division’s programs and goals. In addition, in 2012 Dr. Harrington was honored by the APQO by being awarded the Armand V. Feigenbaum Lifetime Achievement Medal. This award is given annually to an individual whose relentless pursuit of performance improvement over a minimum of 25 years has distinguished himself or herself with work in promoting the use of quality methodologies and principles within and outside the organization of which he or she is part.

Dr. Harrington is a prolific author, publishing hundreds of technical reports and magazine articles. For the past 8 years, he has published a monthly column in Quality Digest Magazine and is syndicated in five other publications. He has authored 37 books and 10 software packages. His e-mail address is [email protected]

Robert D. Lewis (Bob) spent his early years in the civic and religious nonprofit world, where the importance of communication carried an enhanced role. It was there that his study and practice of communication took on serious and academic dimensions. One of his most helpful experiences in communication training was with Dr. John S. Savage, the founder and president of L.E.A.D. Consultants, Incorporated, for 25 years, and currently a senior consultant/trainer for the Kilgore Group. Lewis spent 200 hours in workshops with Dr. Savage and his associates studying listening skills, such as story listening, body language, and neurolinguistic programming theory and techniques. As an ordained minister, Lewis learned the importance of listening, the power of a question, and the importance of effective public speaking.

Currently, Lewis serves on two nonprofit boards of directors and is a trainer, consultant, and financial coach for the APM Foundation for Financial Education ( He also serves as a consultant and the director of financial services for Continuous Improvement Ministries (CIM) of Roseville, California ( He is the vice president for mission support development for Marketplace Missions, Incorporated (MPM), of Auburn, California (, and volunteers his time to help with the children’s home Sonshine Hacienda (http://www.sonshine, operated by MPM in Mexico.

Lewis has served as the senior pastor for three different churches and as the associate director of evangelism for the California Southern Baptist Convention. He retired from the position of executive director of the Sacramento Association of Southern Baptist Churches in 2006.
In addition, Lewis has directed regional training schools and seminars and has served on boards from credit unions to private organizations. Lewis also served Golden Gate Seminary, Mill Valley, California, as a parttime adjunct professor of supervised ministry and served on the committee that reviewed doctor of ministry candidates’ project proposals, project dissertation/reports, and orals. Other teaching experience includes work as an adjunct professor for the Degree Completion Program at William Jessup University, Rocklin, California.

In 1998, Lewis joined the Performance Improvement Network, doing consulting with Dr. H. James Harrington and Dr. Kenneth Lomax. He continues to do contract work with these men. Lewis holds an AA from Missouri Baptist College, Hannibal-LaGrange Campus, in Hannibal; a BA degree from Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee; and the master of divinity and doctor of ministry degrees from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, California. His e-mail address is [email protected]