You’ll hear it again and again, but only because this particular C word is of monumental importance. Of course, it’s none other than communication. In creating an effective workplace, consider these four C’s – clarity, communication, consistency and context in your day-to -day.

Communication. Overused but genuinely important. The fact that we have this ability to share ideas is impeccable. Communication stems from the philosophical concept of the problem of other minds. The challenge can be expressed as so- given that we can only observe the behaviour of others, how do we access the mental state of others when we only have access to our own mental states. One way we go about it is to speak with each other, to communicate our thoughts. In the case of other minds, we only have access to our interpretations of events and situations. Therefore communication becomes the bridge to understanding other minds. Observing behaviour is open to the many lenses we carry and so we can only understand why a certain behaviour occurs when we communicate our thoughts and problems. Thus communication, whether it be in terms of expectations of work to be completed or simply when and why a meeting is being held is important to an effective work environment.

Clarity. If you’ve ever seen those videos where dogs, or birds, or sometimes even people walk right through glass doors, they are pretty funny. Probably not so funny if you’re the one it’s happening to, but there is something to be learned. It looked easy to get to the other side but it wasn’t . Similarly, when we speak with people or give instructions, they need to be clear. It is up to all parties to ensure that if a goal is set, then the results that are expected are quantified. If you want to see improvement in the number of people that visit your website, quantify by what percent you want to see this improve by and keep track of if this happening or not. When you want a project completed, be clear about when you want it completed by and how much time you are willing to extend the project if need be. Being clear about what you want can go a long way in getting what you want accomplished.

Consistency. Not all systems work immediately. If you want a workplace culture that focuses on innovation and you don’t see the results right away, don’t give up because you don’t think it’s working. Being consistent in your practices is important for building trust. Teachers often try new games and it doesn’t always go well the first time, but they don’t immediately discard the game. It takes time for students to learn the rules and adjust to the new structure. Trying the game consistently then leads to a better understanding of how the game is played and a better assessment of if the game works or not. Be consistent with your practices and try new ideas and stick to them!

Context is always important. Parents can be famous for not gathering context. Walk in on a sibling pair fighting and the older one usually gets in trouble. Never mind that the older one had the toy first and the younger one wanted it. Figuring out the context of the situation is preferable to making assumptions. Similarly, providing context in a work environment is just as valuable. If a project needs to be done a certain way, explain why. Even within workplace relations, if a co-worker seems disagreeable, it is possible that you don’t know why they are behaving in a certain way and the extenuating circumstances they may be facing. Context, in most situations can provide a lot of understanding.

Thus with the 4 C’s in mind, go forth and conquer your workplace!