Sometimes the answer is to repeat yourself.

It amazes me how founders are able to maintain consensus when it comes to the vision of the company throughout its workforce. The core values for which one is working are something that precede the work itself, and it is your duty then, as a founder, to keep reminding the same from time to time. Shantanu Deshpande, the founder of Bombay Shaving Company and Bombae, says that as a founder your whispers become yells in no time. It takes only a few hops to for the story to echo. This is a hint on how important the communication aspect is when running an organization.

This problem might seem trivial. You just need to speak, right? But there is an age old question of gauging whether the counterpart understood or not. There is no way for one to know whether the same core beliefs, the same purpose lies within the other person. If you ask me, I would say there is only much we can do. Moreover, a brilliant blogpost by Adam Mastroianni discusses how it is extremely difficult to reach the brain through the ears. I definitely recommend checking it out here. So, in this how have we gotten this done?

We take inspiration from designing systems. There are two concepts that are important when understanding a system, resiliency and reliability. Resiliency pertains to the idea of recovering as swiftly as possible from a downturn, and Reliability is ensuring there is enough trust in the system based on the fact that the probability of a downturn is minimized heavily by design.

Resiliency is the aftermath of a downturn, which is something that we try to avoid in communication. Recovery is difficult and cumbersome. Reliability is something we can work on. So, how do systems achieve it?

There are many ways, but the one that strikes the most is repitition. One cryptographic key doesn’t work for you, use multiple, maybe in a layered manner. Don’t trust the one database you have, get a backup. Even that doesn’t work for you, get another backup. One conversation isn’t enough to get your point across, over communicate.

Yes, you read it right. Over communication is the solution. I would say strategizing on forming conversations around a central idea using different aspects of the same is the best known way to achieve a reliable channel from your brain to other’s brain. Think about what your mindset was when discussing an idea. What were your beliefs, what was your line of thinking? If you feel the point hasn’t gone across, use several perspectives. It is rare that you have tried everything and nothing works. I mean, it is reliable, not full-proof.