Human interactions heavily influence your organisation’s performance, your ability to deliver quality products and services, your employee and customer experience, and their levels of engagement. Often, however, these interactions are taken for granted. The social and interactional fabric of an organisation is not as clearly defined and visible as internal communication processes and organisational structures. Yet, it does exist and often there is plenty of potential for leaders to intentionally shape this less visible fabric in stronger support of organisational needs and the culture it aspires to have. In other words, they can increase its human fluency.

Here is how we define human fluency in organisations:

Organisations or teams that are humanly fluent have a culture where the attributes described for individuals are the norm (see previous and next articles). They comprise of people, most notably leaders, that can purposefully organise, design, conduct and facilitate a range of interactions – organisational conversations-  necessary to use, nurture and develop human potential.

They purposefully shape the conditions for the right human interactions to take place. They help build the capability in their people to make these conversations meaningful and effective. We call this conversational capability.

By doing so, these organizations deliver their intended results and ultimately fulfil their purpose. This is achieved only with deliberate and purposeful interaction.

Often we see that organizations have well-established processes (i.e. performance management cycle, project management tools, change management steps, etc.) that constitute or include organizational conversations. Think about individual performance meetings, weekly team meetings, personal development meetings, project stage gate meetings, change impact conversations, brainstorm/delivery workshops etc. Of course, then there are the many commercial conversations that happen with customers, suppliers, partners, and other third parties.

However, also think about organisational conversations like those informal chats in the corridors, canteens; day-to-day collaboration/sharing conversations; all those ad-hoc meetings in teams, conversations between managers and subordinates; meetings with clients, suppliers; leadership programmes; etc.

Ensuring that organisational conversations are taking place is a first step. This is the visible “what” that happens on a daily basis.

However, it is often the less visible “why” and “how” that makes all the difference in the world when it comes to sustained performance, quality, and engagement with customers and employees.  The way in which these conversations are actually conducted (i.e. conversational quality), what they should really be about, and how people value them are additional leaps on the path towards becoming a humanly fluent organisation.

How would you rate the human fluency of your organisation? And in what ways does it positively or negatively impact performance, employee experience and product/service quality?