A Lesson on Effective Communication from the Conclaves of Cardinals

Who say’s religion cannot teach us useful things.

This particular observation has been sitting in my draft folder for awhile now. I have had trouble translating this into normal language till today. Turn’s out we can learn something from our religious leaders after all; effective communication. Hear me out on this. It’s a contradiction when we use the word openness and the secretive Conclave of Cardinals, but bare with me, it will make sense.

1) Grab the stakeholders, immediately!

Problems are as constant as death and taxes. Okay maybe not so constant but they do happen. It’s part of life. So, a problem has arisen, here is step number 1: Grab all the key/critical decision makers and stakeholders, stick them in a room and do not come out until there is a plan of action.

2) Communicate status updates regularly.

Like the white smoke the Conclave uses to communicate whether they have made their choice or not, clearly communicate to the relevant folks what the new plan of action. Even if you have made no progress, be forth coming and truthful about it. Presenting progress, even if it is nothing substantial, is better than the cone of silence. But there is fine line between mundane, useless information versus showing progress.

3) Every plan needs a leader.

A great plan can still fall apart if there is no accountability structure or leadership responsible for sherperding the flock. Every success story has a shepherd leading the flock through the valley of fear, craziness and uncertainty. Final step, identify the single person/group leading the implementation of the new plan of action (the pope in this case). Forget corporate champions this and corporate champions that, or whose title is bigger or longer, whose got more years, or works the crazy hours. Find the most knowledgable, apt leader, empower him or her to take responsibility and do everything possible to support him towards success. Make it happen.

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