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Dialogue Gap: Why Communication Isn't Enough and What We Can Do About It, Fast by Peter Nixon

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Chapter 6

The Cost of Failed Dialogue

U.S.-based research carried out on 1,000 executives from 40 companies comprising 2,200 projects ranging in value from US$10,000 to US$1 billion per project uncovered what I call the Big Five Dialogue Failures:1

1. Projects are set up with unrealistic timelines and a shortage of resources.

2. Project sponsors fail to lead or give the political clout, time, and energy to see a project through to completion.

3. Unrealistic priorities are established and followed.

4. Team leaders and members don’t admit problems exist and wait for others to act.

5. Team members are either unable or unwilling to support the project.

Up to 85 percent of those surveyed failed in one of the previous dialogue areas affecting as many as 39 percent of their projects. As many as 91 percent of those surveyed said it was hard to confront and resolve one or more of these issues. Of the 50 percent who tried to dialogue, as few as 11 percent did so skillfully while 20 percent were able to solve the problem. Of those projects that failed or ran over budget the amounting loss was approximately US$64 billion.

The research just quoted has one piece of good news. Where dialogue was improved, performance improved by 50 to 70 percent.

Dialogue Leader Behavior Rating

As we know from the previous chapters dialogue fails for several reasons, including the advent of digital communication, the retreat of traditional occasions for dialogue from our lives, a lowering of importance placed ...

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