Communication is Critical

“The less people know, the more they yell”    [Seth Godin]

On many occasions, I have referenced quotes on communication as part of my Leadership Thought.  The reason is that communication is so vital to success in business – to culture, to attitude, and to perception (including that of the customer).  This week’s quote helps drive that point home.

To highlight the importance of communication, and in particular this week’s quote, I’d like to share a brief story.  Last week I went to the doctor for a scheduled visit.  After sitting in the waiting room for over an hour, the office staff informed me I would have to reschedule the appointment for later in the week.  At my return visit, I also waited over an hour before seeing my doctor.  Note the difference in my reactions to the two separate appointments:

Despite the wait time on my first visit, I did not leave frustrated.  I was comfortable the office staff had done all they could do.  After the second visit, I left frustrated and disappointed.  I even snapped back at the doctor when he finally showed up.

What was the difference in the two appointments and my differing reactions?  During the first appointment, the receptionist made it a point to communicate to me every 10-15 minutes on the status and reasons for the delay.  During the second appointment, not a single one of the nurses or doctors bothered to explain the delay.  Two separate appointments to the same business, and two dramatically different outcomes.

See what I mean?

Gauge Your Impact

“Isn’t it interesting the effect we have on people, even when we don’t know it.”  – [Bart Starr]

Recently I was in a discussion with one of my leadership team members remarking on how some of our staff were working unreasonable hours trying to keep up with competing priorities.  So I asked the question…”when did I make that a priority”?  His response:  “The team presumes EVERYTHING you ask them to do is top priority, unless you tell them otherwise”.  Wow!  That response literally slapped me in the face!

This week’s quote goes miles to crystalize this dilemma.  It isn’t always in the words we say, but many times it’s in our actions, both past and present, that often impact others.  Are you aware of the effect you have on your team members, your clients, and your suppliers?  Stop and think about it a minute…and make sure the effect you have on others (even when you don’t know it) isn’t creating unintended consequences.