People systematically overestimate their communication effectiveness and overestimate what other people understand, particularly people close to us. As a result, leaders of companies tend to overestimate how well their organizations understand strategic priories and the intent behind those priorities.
Executive teams may strongly indicate that they understand and support the company’s strategy. However, when asked to list the top three strategic priorities, vast differences are uncovered. In one survey of 124 companies, only 51% of the top team members could list their company’s top three strategic priorities. The data gets even worse when you go deeper into the organization. Only 22% of executives who report to members of the top-leadership team can correctly list their company’s top three priorities.
Close communication bias is partly to blame. Close communications bias happens when we under-communicate with people close to us because we think they know what we know.
The larger problem is that we confuse communication with understanding and fail to test whether our communication translates into understanding.
Avoid this mistake by being aware of the problem and validating how well the organization understands your strategy and overall priorities