15 Ways To Fight Communication Breakdowns

Communication is key in all relationships, from personal to professional. However, sometimes even the strongest teams can suffer from poor communication.

This breakdown can be especially problematic when employees are scrambling to complete a major project or meet a tight deadline. To help you combat this issue, we asked 15 members of Forbes Coaches Council how leaders can improve team morale and get the lines of communication back on track.

Get things done

Getting Things Done by David Allen is one of the staples of personal and professional productivity. Getting Things Done, or GTD for short has been on the top sellers’ list for more than a decade (it first came out in 2001) and with good reason.

David Allen has managed to create a system that you can use both at work, at school and at home – it is almost universal. The book though is rather complex and lengthy and you can get lost in the nitty-gritty of the it all.

Knowledge Is Power, But Not In The Way You Think

She was that person everyone liked, but no one could work with. Eventually, she was fired. Her biggest issue was that she was a hoarder—of knowledge. Jenny (not her real name) thought knowledge was power and while she was smart about creating it, she never wanted to share it.

Jenny was right. Knowledge is power. But she was wrong about what do to with it. Actually, knowledge can change the world—or the company—but only when it is shared, and shared in the right ways.

Information density describes a situation where many people in a company know many important things. They know them in the moment—in real-time when it counts most to inform their decision making. The information-dense company is one in which people are informed and in which there is a level of radical transparency.


Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. — Abraham Lincoln

Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts. Perhaps the fear of a loss of power. — John Steinbeck

“Knowledge isn’t power until it is applied.” ― Dale Carnegie

The object of power is power. — George Orwell, 1984

We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. — George Orwell, 1984

Don’t trust children with edge tools. Don’t trust man, great God, with more power than he has until he has learned to use that little better. What a hell we should make of the world if we could do what we would! —Ralph Waldo Emerson

10,000 ways that won’t work

From the Guardian article linked below: “One man that exemplified the science of taking massive actions is Thomas Alva Edison, an American inventor and one of the greatest innovators of all time. During his career, Edison patented over 1000 inventions, including the electric light, the phonograph and the motion-picture camera. 

In the period from 1878 to 1880, after Edison had built a small laboratory in New Jersey, he worked on at least three thousand different theories to develop an efficient incandescent lamp. Many inventors had tried ever before him, but couldn’t produce perfect incandescent lamps. 

By January 1879, Edison had built the first high resistance incandescent electric light, just as he desired, but still the lamp only burned for few hours. To get the perfect ‘filament,’ he went from one experiment to another, tested thousands and thousands of numerous materials to use for the filament, but they did not work with the tools available at that time. 

He tested carbonised filaments of every plant imaginable; he tested no fewer than 6000 vegetable growths. He was never discouraged or inclined to be hopeless of success, despite his several mistakes. He finally discovered that they could use a carbonised bamboo filament that last over 1,200 hours. 

After thousands and thousands of failures, mistakes and errors, Edison finally invented the first practical incandescent light. Though it took him about 10,000 trials to make the light bulb, he gave the world some of the best invention that has heralded the ‘modern’ world. 

When a reporter tried to ridicule his various attempts by asking him how he felt to have failed for 10,000 times, he said something that stunned the whole world: “I have not failed 10,000 times; I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” He has an unbreakable record; he not only eventually succeeded, but established a system of electric power generation and distribution to homes. 

Edison also developed the first movie camera and was the first to record sound. He gained worldwide acclaim for his inventions and continued working, even with advancing age and in frail health, amassing a total of 1093 patents, more than any other inventor at that time. His last patent was obtained at age 83 and he died at 84 on October 18, 1931 in New Jersey. 

Three days later, on the night of October 21, as a national tribute proclaimed by President Herbert Hoover, millions of Americans turned out their lights to plunge the country into momentary darkness in order to illustrate how the world was before Edison discovered the light bulb. 

When someone called him a genius, Edison made the famous reply: “Genius is one per cent inspiration and 99 per cent perspiration,” a statement that testify to his virtues of tenacity and persistency even in the plethora of his errors. An overzealous reporter once wrote a headline about Edison: “God said, ‘let there be light’ and there was Thomas Edison.” He was a light to the world, for when Edison died, the lights were put out as a tribute to this legend that set the world aglow with the discovery of the electric bulb light.