How many workplace issues are introduced to you as, "We've got a communication problem?"
Communication is a catch-all phrase. It's generic, socially acceptable, and really just sends the signal that someone wants to start a conversation. But it probably won't end up being about communication.
Psychologists and counselors refer to these kinds of introductory pronouncements as "presenting" problems." They're a call for help when someone doesn't know what to do or may not even be aware of the real issue.
Unless you know the genuine issue, you can spend a lot of time creating an elegant solution for the wrong problem.
In organizations, communication is the #1 presenting problem.
"That sounds interesting. Help me out. Describe specifically what you see happening and why it's a problem."
You may discover that the Marketing group refused to follow guidelines from Research and ended up slightly misrepresenting a product.
You don't yet know the cause. But you do know the real situation and where to focus your energy.
How many presenting problems can you uncover today?
If you've got a favorite "presenting problem" story, toss it into the mix with a comment below. You may help someone else see how to probe and work on the right thing at the right time.
How about when "You Know The Words But Don't Understand the Meaning ?" I recall an article my online friend Jackie Cameron wrote a while back that highlights a new communication challenge prompted by social media.