No Such Thing as No Communication

September 17, 2014

I have been taking part in some leadership training at work over the last few months and today I participated in an interesting exercise. We had a 5 person team, one person (myself) had a diagram and the rest of the team had different colored pieces of paper. The digram displayed a desired arrangement of the colored pieces of paper. It was my responsibility to direct my team to organize the pieces of paper in the desired arrangement without using any verbal communication or gesturing towards a person or a position. My team had one minute to come up with a plan. We decided on a system of hand signs that I could use to direct my team as to which color to place in which position.

For a very long time I have known the importance of good communication. This very simple exercise really demonstrated how, even without verbal communication and with limited non-verbal communication, some form of communication will surface. It is a necessity of survival. It is something that is observable in nature, ants and bees communicate even without the advanced language systems available to human beings. Removing one form of communication will just cause another to take it’s place.

Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. - Bill Gates