A Failure to Communicate?

“I have a communication problem,” Sarah insisted.  “My sales manager doesn’t communicate effectively with the operations manager.”

“And?” I asked.

“Operations has been struggling.  Our backlog is best when we have about six weeks hard scheduled.  But, right now, operations has an eighteen week backlog, that’s five months.  My sales manager is apoplectic.  He says he can’t sell a project that we can’t start for five months.  He says the operations manager won’t listen to him, stonewalls him in meetings, doesn’t respond to emails.  I think we have a communications problem.”

“What have you tried?” I wanted to know.

“Well, we hired a communication consultant.  He came highly recommended.  We had four seminars, one week apart, but at the end of a month, the sales manager still had the same complaint.”

“What did the ops manager say?” I pressed.

“Oh, he says that the sales manager is unrealistic, that his operations team is working as hard as they can to keep up and the sales team has no appreciation for their effort.”  Sarah sounded a bit despondent.

“So, you think you have a communication issue, and you had a communication workshop, but the problem didn’t go away.  Do you think maybe it’s not a communication problem?”

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