29% is unsatisfied

(Source: Ruysdael research on connected leadership)

We understand each other well enough

Mutaual understanding is key for maintaining a common frame of reference among team members. Many teams feel that mutual understanding needs to be improved  (29% unsatisfied and 48% neutral) for better knowledge transfer and task alignment.


Interpersonal communication is the most important success factor for any group of people. When the quality is high it creates a common and practical frame of reference for the task at hand. When the quality is poor the chance of rework and frustration increases.

The success strategy: Be fit and tune in. We connect to each other and include mutual thoughts and feelings into new information and meaning. We can discuss this factor using the following success markers:

  • Openness
  • Empathy
  • Mutual understanding
  • Practical translation
  • Shared meaning


Individual improvement

Openness and curiosity stimulates mutual understanding.

Apply ‘active listening’

Do not jump to conclusions and test your personal ‘logic’ by using the ladder of inference (Peter Senge)

  • What do I hear, see and feel?
  • What information do I select (focus of attention)?
  • Which (implicit) meaning do I give to this information?
  • Which assumptions need to be readjusted?
  • What is my conclusion?

Team improvement

  • Balance listening and speaking in a group meeting
  • Summarize to obtain a common frame of reference
  • Instead of saying ‘I understand’, be specific and feedback what you understand
  • Visualize the relations between important information and topics.

Other interventions

  • Be more specific in defining objectvies, results, activities and work packages;
  • Define a clear structure of content;
  • Check why others feel that certain information is important.