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Is there any employee who hasn’t witnessed his or her employer about to make a big mistake before it is made?

Probably not.

Companies make mistakes because they rush a product to market, fail to adequately discuss the impact of a particular program, or because they just don’t consider the opinions of everyone around them, including their employees.

A new study shows that 86 percent of people blame lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures.

The study also reports that while 90 percent think company decision-makers should consider opinions of others before making their decisions, only 40 percent do.

The findings come from a study of 1,400 corporate executives, employees, and educators from a diverse group of industries by Fierce Inc., a Seattle-based leadership development and training company.

Fierce subscribes to the theory that the better and more effective it communicates, the better its bottom line will be. And, it isn’t just interested in making sure that executive suite-decisions are adequately relayed down through layers of management and workers.

Holly Bock, chief executive of Fierce, believes business executives and employees need to have the skills necessary to have effective, candid and goal-oriented conversations that encourage collaboration, create engagement, and drive business results.

“Learning to communicate effectively takes time and practice,” she says. “Like any skill, communication must be carefully honed.”

Yet, Fierce’s study finds that 70 percent of those surveyed believe that a lack of candor impacts the ability of the company to perform at its best.

Many people are familiar with companies – and some very successful companies – that have one, two, or three people at the top of the company who make nearly all the company’s decisions on their own.

But for every company that succeeds like that, there are dozens of others that fail or struggle because they either don’t know how or don’t want to open up the decision-making process to include others in their work forces.

Many times, companies don’t even realize that they have shut out employees from being able to contribute. Companies say they want everyone’s input on projects, but because of time constraints, organizational obstacles or simply lack of effort, they don’t give others the chance to participate.

It is extremely difficult for any executive to be aware of every nuance of a corporate project. Those executives need to lean on those around them – as well as anyone else in the company that has first-hand knowledge of the how projects works or will be received by clients.

Good communication flow seems to be a no-brainer inside healthy companies. But many either haven’t made the effort or have been succeeding despite not communicating well. That has a tendency to undermine long-term success.

And, one of the most important components of communication is the ability to listen to what others are saying and process those remarks as part of the decision-making process.

Workplace communications are integral to building a company that will be able to develop products their customers need and want, and to refining those products when they are found to have flaws. But you can’t discover those things unless you have an open channel for communications that reach each of a company’s workers.

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