As a company implements change, an important part of communication is to remember to “Close the Loop”. This will keep everyone on the same page and in alignment about next steps.
Who needs to close the loop?
Everyone! Closing the loop keeps everyone moving in the same direction and avoids misunderstandings
Managers and Leaders have to close the loop most often:
After a discussion or meeting
What are the action items? Put them in writing/email.
What decisions were made? If you made a decision or reached a major milestone, make sure everyone involved clearly understands this.
Ensure there are no misunderstandings about the takeaways from the discussion/meeting. Without a clear summary of takeaway and next steps, folks leave a meeting with very different understandings of what is next.
When a decision has been made
Did everyone who gave input learn of the decision?
Did you explain why you made the decision you did?
When a decision HAS NOT been made
Let everyone know where the decision making process sits, even if a decision has not yet been made.
In the absence of information about a decision, the “rumor mill” can create a very different next step than the reality of the situation.
Everyone should be proactive by closing the loop with their supervisors, managers and leaders. More commonly, a manager comes looking for more information about the status of open items. If you are proactive in your communication, your manager will appreciate it!
What’s the status of open items?
What roadblocks are you encountering?
Closing the loop is a two way street
Communication to the receiver (I made this decision …)
Acknowledgement from the receiver - be sure the receiver really understands and accepts your communication
Are you getting acceptance or a confused look?
Are you getting back feedback or questions?
If you have difficulties in closing the loop, reflect upon how you interact with others
Do you provide regular communication on the topic?
Did everyone understand the original objective or issues to be solve?
What could you have done differently?
If you are a do-er, it’s easy to move too quickly and forget to let everyone know what’s happening.
Slow do (just a little) and close the loop. It will help keep all the ducks in a row…