The Alliance And Leicester Company Business Essay
The five active listening skills that Alliance & Leicester uses to communicate more effectively with its trainees during the one hour of weekly staff training sessions are attending, encouraging, reflecting, interpreting and questioning. Effective communication is not a one way process, it is where the sender transmits a message and the receiver absorbs it. Active listening involves concentration, attention and comprehension
Firstly, being attentive is very important in active listening as to pay attention to what a speaker says, for example when the manager is talking and explaining you about something show that you are giving importance to the conversation by maintaining eye contact. Face the manager look directly at his face, and avoid being distracted by environmental factors such as other conversation going on. This will help the staffs to understand what the manager is talking about
The second active listening skills is to Avoid interruptions, for example when a speaker is talking give your attention write down important points, do not interrupt with your own comments or questions until the manager finishes, this can divert the managers mind and distract him, wait until the manager has finished talking then ask questions and things which you have not understand or need clarification. Avoid talking, whispering or making jokes while the manager is talking.
The third active listening skill is reflecting this is also an important; let the person speaking know that you understand the content of the message on what the manager has explained. For example to reflect the feeling to what the manager has talked about ,show that you are listening and understanding .Reflect does not mean that you agree to what the manager says ,reflect the speakers words in terms of feelings for example show that it feels very important to you.
Another active listening skill is providing feedback, as a listener you must understand what the manager has said and ask questions. Reflect what has been said, let the manager know what your opinions are on the circumstances, share your observations and experiences and then listen to confirm. The last active listening skill is encouraging, encourage the speaker to share more information by asking question such as "why should we follow this course of actions". This shows your interest to what the speaker has said and to understand to perform more effectively.
Moreover the four interpersonal communication skills is the process where information is exchanged through verbal and nonverbal communication it is direct face to face communication. The Alliance & Leicester can use to improving teamwork within the marketing team while planning to launch new products is to identify the value while developing your relationship with your team or group you should identify where we can bring value. Looking, listening, and asking questions allow you to see what the group needs to achieve the objective. As you build good relationship within the team, make value by fulfilling needs. The second communication skill is effective communication, as an individual you must know the needs of the group and present your message effectively and authorize the importance to you. Team becomes ineffective when the communication process in the team stops. Communication in a team must be effective and objective the team must be focused on the objectives with the needs of the group and members should communicate effectively at all times.
Another important interpersonal skill which helps in improving team work is commitment; the team members must be committed at all times in achieving the objective .The team members must be committed to the interpersonal interactions within the team. All members should identify where to add value they must follow up and create those values .Team work skills require efforts as you spend with each member ,everyone should work together to achieve goals.
Conflict is another interpersonal communication skill which can improve team work, not all the team members have strong relationships with everyone in the group. People have different personalities, opinion and thinking and this creates the difference s of opinions to achieve the goals For example while working as a team to achieve a specific goal different members will come up with different ideas to reach the goal.To avoiding conflicts and resolving conflicts quickly can help the team to work together and reach their goals and objectives.
Each of the following communication skills, assertiveness, negotiation and giving and receiving constructive feedback, help in exploring and reaching mutually agreeable solutions to workplace problems.
Assertiveness is to deal with problems professionally, the Alliance & Leicester can use the following methods to resolve the disagreement between the retail distributors is by determining the positive outcome you want to achieve by addressing the concerns with others, being positive, secondly by going to the source having private dealings to resolve disputes for example having a good relationship with your retail distributors. There should be control of emotions while making decisions which can help to achieve a better outcome .Also by staying focused on issues get other people’s concerns , be direct in problem solving and your message must be present in a best way be on the point and focus on issues .The problem solving methods concerns to get ideas and solutions.
Negotiation is the process by which two or more parties come together to reach mutually satisfying decision on an issue. When buying a product from Alliance & Leicester the retail distributor should approach the company with a reasonable price that will allow the company to gain a profit as well as the retail distributor receiving a discount, mutually satisfying both parties. Alliance & Leicester may reject the price offered or come back with a different price; the retail distributor should then consider this price and respond appropriately. This process may occur a few times before a mutually satisfying price is reached by both parties. The retail distributor can research for different prices by comparing the price of the product at the company with similar products from other companies, and should also consider their own budget. Throughout the negotiation process both parties should maintain a professional manner.
Giving and receiving constructive feedback
The organizer of the Alliance &Leicester national sales conference can take any feedback received from previous conferences to organize a more satisfying conference for the attendees. For example, if feedback was received that the venue of the conference was not appropriate as it felt too small for the number of managers attending, the organizer can look into larger venues that will fit into the conference budget. The organizer can also give feedback to those who are attending the conference based on experiences from previous conferences, for example, he/she can advise on the behaviour that is expected at the conference. Something the organizer could do is providing Feedback Forms for the attendees to fill out as this would give constructive feedback for the organization of future conferences.
Question and Discussion can be defined as a session or meeting with two or more parties where questions can be asked and discussed. If the interview between the senior manager and group executive was specified to be a question and discussion interview then the senior manager could prepare beforehand questions they wants to be discussed and answered by the group executive. This will help the senior manager communicate more effectively with the group executive because the questions asked will be specific to the management issue concerned for example if at the group chiefs executive meetings the overall performance of Alliance & Leicester was discussed without specifying how each branch performed, the senior manager could ask the group executive about the performance of the branch he/she manages.
Rapport is when two or more parties have established a close relationship based on a mutual understanding of each other’s feelings and ideas. If the senior manager and group executive have established a good rapport with one another they will be able to communicate well during their interview to resolve the management issue concerned. Since they will have a mutual understanding of the policies, processes and goals of Alliance & Leicester and are both at a senior level within the company, both parties will be able to communicate effectively. For example, if the senior manager had an issue concerned with the written external communications of the company they can discuss this with the Group Executive as they would both have an understanding of what is required for external communications to be released. Also because of the good rapport established between the two parties, any concerns can be discussed openly and honestly, making communication more effective.
Purpose and process of the interview is when the purpose and process of an interview is specified before the time of the interview. If the senior manager and Group Executive are aware of the purpose and process of the interview than they will be able to communicate more effectively as a goal has been set as well as the process to achieve it. For example, if the management issue raised was about customer complaints the purpose of the interview may be to discuss how customer complaints should be dealt with. With this purpose, the process of the interview may be that the Group Executive will explain the company’s policies of dealing with customer complaints. Because a purpose and process has been outlined, there is little room for either party to be sidetracked from the management issue concerned and both parties will be able to come to the interview prepared with questions, concerns and explanations.
Feedback is the process by which information about a person’s performance or task used for improvement. Feedbacks can be either positive or negative for example while having a meeting where the manager decides to change the company’s products brand name; he should provide feedback forms to the members of the company and ask for feedback about the changes. This will improve the company’s performance and productivity and will help him to make a good decision. Also non verbal feedback can provide valuable information about the response of others to your actions
Furthermore to ensure a quality meeting is in place, the following stakeholders play critical roles in preparing, conducting and participating, and the follow-up of the meeting – individual participants, chairperson and minute recorder. Their responsibilities include
The two responsibilities of individual participants during the meeting is to contribute in a professional manner, for example when the meeting is going on you should give full concentration avoid unwanted conversations which can distract meeting, follow the items of the agenda through discussion, brainstorming and planning. To be respectful and courteous of others at the meeting.
The responsibilities of a chairmen during the meeting is to maintain control of the meeting and to make sure that progress is being made according to the agenda of the meeting. Also to ensure that all those who want a chance to speak are given that chance at the appropriate time and place; and when someone is speaking that they are not interrupted by others.
The responsibilities of a minute recorder are to write up the minutes of the meeting in a clear and concise manner, with all key points of the meeting highlighted. To distribute the minutes to all stakeholders of the meeting and receive and re-distribute any feedback, comments and questions that follow. For example if there has been some changes being made ask for feedback from members about the changes.
Downward Communication is when information flows from the highest level of an organisation down to its lowest level, in terms of management; the information is usually policies, procedures and instructions from senior levels of management to their subordinates/employees about how tasks need to be completed. The advantages of a downward communication is that in increases efficiency, it is a correct way of giving instructions and the disadvantages are the information gets overload and lack of comfort between the manager and the employees Downward communication was used by Alliance & Leicester to convey its organisational goals, policies, culture and ethics to its internal stakeholders such as employees and managers across levels and departments; as stated in the case study downward communication was used to inform employees about developments within the company, to give instructions and to pass on business strategies.
This helped the employees feel more involved in the company and allowed them to understand how certain changes would affect their daily working lives. Team Briefs were held to inform employees about research being carried out on important issues and subsequent proposals and Team Meetings were held to bring employees together and focus on specific issues. For downward communication to be effective, the higher levels of the organisation should be respectful and provide concise information, and give praise to recognise good performance. Also the higher levels need to ensure that the lower levels are able to understand the information provided. In order for downward communication to be effective, the superior should remain respectful and concise when giving orders; make sure the subordinate clearly understands instructions; and give recognition for admirable performance.
Example of a Downward Communication
This is an example of the downward communication where the information from a higher level is passed across the lower level of the departments in an organization. The flow of information from the top management informing the members in an organization what are important e.g mission and what is valued. Downward communication in Alliance & Leicester helped to transmit important message to the members, giving instructions about the business strategy, announcing important decisions while having team briefs to keep employees informed about important issues and proposals.
The best communication network for information flow among the key stakeholders, such as Group Customer Relations, Customer Relations and customers to improve the customer service at Alliance & Leicester are Decentralized Networks, for example, the Circle or Comcon communication network. This is because a centralized communication network only enables information to be transmitted from a centralized point in an organization, usually from management or the senior levels whereas a decentralized communication network allows information to be shared back and forth through all levels of an organization. There are many advantages associated with having a decentralized communication network within an organization, these include:
All stakeholders of Alliance & Leicester, external and internal, are able to communicate information with one another about the products and services being offered. Customer feedback, complaints and questions are important for an organization to improve existing and create new products and services that will be well accepted, this will help retain customers as well as obtain new customers.
By putting appropriate policies and procedures into place, a decentralized unit will increase the efficiency of customer service as customer complaints and enquiries will be dealt with by those who are interacting directly with the customers instead of waiting for a response from management on what should be done.
A decentralized communication network will work well in Alliance & Leicester’s complex and ever changing environments as all members of the organization are able to communicate information and the changes they perceive with one another; therefore all members of the organization are able to give their ideas and knowledge of how these changes can be managed.
The two technologies that are used for communication by Alliance and Leicester is email communication used by internal stakeholders such as managers and employees and external stakeholders such as customers. These are sent via the computer stations within the company that are equipped with email. Emails are sent within the company to inform staff of important announcements, changes and daily memos; and are also used to transmit customer information. An example of email communication within Alliance & Leicester would be the distribution of minutes taken from the Team Meetings.
The advantages of using email are that it is a fast, convenient and cheap way to transmit information to a large group of people including internationally. There is no need for paper when sending or receiving an email and attachments can be added such as advertising material and company documents. The disadvantages of using email are that confidential information can be sent to the wrong person easily, emails can carry viruses and get lost when considered as spam and they cannot be signed.
Another technology that is used by the internal stakeholders of Alliance and Leicester for communication is the fax system. As stated in the case study, Alliance and Leicester uses a facility to distribute multiple faxes simultaneously to over 1,000 fax machines within the Company. This system is used when major announcements need to be made to the whole of the Company quickly while individual faxes can also be sent to specific areas of the company. For example, a fax can be sent throughout the company if sudden changes are made to any of the products being offered. The advantages of having such a fax system are the convenience, ease and speed of information transmission as well as providing an instant hard copy of documents. However, there are many disadvantages associated with using a fax system, such as the need for paper for messages to come through, the area required to keep fax machines and the cost of maintenance. Also if a fax is sent to a line that is busy than the sender will need to keep trying until the line becomes clear.