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Communicate Clearly with any size Team using Military DLIPS

How not to run an Army. Sgt Bilko was a hilarious TV show from the ’60s showing antics and inefficiency of leadership.

Urgency of Clear Communication using DLIPS? (You need to, or your baby unicorn might die)

In the military, the DLIPS method is a command voice characterized by Distinctness, Loudness, Inflection, Projection, and Snap.

The person giving a command often does so to a large number of people in less-than-ideal circumstances. So guidelines for clear communication have been established.

There is no room for error.

Lives depend on it.

It goes like this— ~ Distinct pronunciation of each word, separately, is a must. ~ Loudness, speaking in a voice volume loud enough to be heard by all. ~ Inflection is change in tone to emphasize certain words, usually verbs. As in “Forward, MARCH”. No confusion there. ~ Projection of the words includes volume, pitch and clarity. A deeper authoritative voice from the chest. The troops must be able to understand, no matter where they are in relation to the person giving the command. ~ Snap is the crispness at the end of the last word of command to indicate action must commence. When you hear “Forward MARCH”, there is a certain crispness to the ‘-CH’ that leaves no question as to what is next expected of you!

This DLIPS approach doesn’t come naturally. There is special training so that this technique is adopted properly and consistently.

I know a young man in the Army who is now pretty high up in rank. To look at him, you’d think he eats 5 lbs of raw meat and nails with hot sauce for breakfast. (But he is also a truly amazing son, husband and father.)

Definitely not the kind of guy any one of his men or trainees would disobey. With just one piercing scowl, he could make you jump off a cliff while shouting “Thank you, SIR”. Nonetheless, he had to retry for a promotion one time because he didn’t have the DLIPS technique _exactly_ correct. Unbelievably, the review committee said his “Projection” wasn’t strong enough! (Passed with flying colors at the next try)

I say all this to make an important point…  “Clear and unambiguous communication is everything.”

Without abundantly clear communication, you will not be successful in sales, with your team, with your investors or with your customers.

Another military saying is “Don’t confuse activity with progress.” But that’s exactly what _does_ happen when communication is not clear: The engineering team works 18-hour days creating things that the project manager is unaware of; and the sales department is speaking to prospective customers but selling something different than what is being built.

Meanwhile, the CEO is giving rosy reports to investors based on incorrect information. And everyone on the team is puzzled when it finally implodes.

And that’s how baby unicorns die.

Action Item: Write DLIPS in large letters on a paper, tack it to the wall. And write DLIPS on the upper left corner of the conference room white board. Those letters will be a daily reminder of this post, and a great conversation starter. Please pass this on to members of your team and to anyone else you want to succeed.

Now, “Forward, MARCH.” Gregory Giagnocavo & (c) 2016


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