Tell Them

I got to connect with an old friend the other day.

We drove, we talked, we got coffee, and we talked some more.

We talked about new starts and changes.

We talked about career paths and work.

We talked about good times and bad.

Then we talked about organizations.

My friend watched an organization try to move forward.

The moving forward required some changes.

The changes would impact employees.

The organization forgot to Tell Them (the employees, the staff, the people that would be impacted), and their top talent began to leave.

After many people left, the organization learned a valuable lesson.

Tell Them.

Tell Them why the changes are happening.

Tell Them the larger plan.

Tell Them why these moves are so important.

There are so many excuses not to Tell Them.

“We were waiting until everything was perfect.”

“We were not sure how the news would be received.”

“We think it will upset our customer.”

The longer you wait to Tell Them, the more other stories build.

Stories that erode trust.

Stories that assume the worst.

Stories that will undo the progress you are trying to make.

There are always reasons and excuses not to communicate.

But there is a simple solution: Tell Them.

Even bad news is more widely accepted when you are straightforward, open, and transparent.

Instead of being afraid of what they will do with the information, we should be more afraid of what they will do without it.

 

Culture, Performance, and Employees

Culture Performance Employees

The Culture of an organization is important. Culture orients us to the organization, its purpose and goals. But Culture is not just what an organization says, Culture is what it does both internally and externally.

How does the organization treat its customers, even the difficult ones?

How does the organization treat its employees, and not just those at the top of the ladder?

Performance is important.

Making the numbers. Bringing in revenue. Achieving goals.

Performance keeps us in business.

Employees are important.

Employees do the work. Employees make the calls. Employees interact with the customer.

Actively managing Culture, Performance, and Employees and keeping these three in balance may be the most important responsibility of a leader.

But some leaders forget all three.

Some leaders only remember one.

Some leaders focus solely on Performance.

Culture Performance Employees (2)

Performance alone creates a different Culture.

Performance alone can treat Employees like numbers.

Performance alone can turn the Culture against Employees.

Performance alone blames Employees (for the Culture and lack of Performance).

Performance alone can lead to Employees leaving for a better Culture.

Great leaders realize Employees matter.

Great leaders realize Performance matters.

Great leaders realize that Culture can take care of the other two.

Great leaders strive for Culture that rewards and values Employees that can lead to greater Performance.

Great leaders know where to start.

Moats, Distance, and Drawbridges

Caerlaverock_Castle_from_the_air_1

 

(Caerlaverock Castle in Scotland courtesy of Wikipedia)

On the call the other day, I was connecting and checking in with someone important to me. They were describing an old relationship that did not end well. They had been hurt. Words were exchanged. The relationship, although important, had essentially ended.

Because of some recent circumstances, they needed to connect with this other person. Connecting after a falling out is never easy. They were wrestling with how to proceed, and the feelings associated with the time that had passed.

As we talked, I explained that sometimes we need to create Moats. Moats are protections for our core relationships. We keep those inside safe, and others are kept at a healthy Distance.

Distance is the natural by-product of a Moat. Those relationships can be good, but they have limits. Those relationships may be “not so good” but the Distance helps you keep your emotions and expectations in perspective.

Those inside are kept healthy and safe (including you).

When discussing how to move forward, we realized that Moats need Drawbridges.

Drawbridges allow us to let people in when needed. Drawbridges allow us to connect with the greater world by making a decision to lower the bridge.

The Moat still exists, but the connection can be made. When the time has passed, the Drawbridge can be raised again, when and if needed.

We all have Moats. The logical by-product of these Moats are Distance.

It is the Drawbridge that helps us manage both.

 

Rusty Connections

RustyOldHinges

(Image Courtesy of http://www.angiesroost.com)

A friend recently reached out to make sure we were okay. Nothing specific happened, just a little time passed since we last connected.

“Are we okay?”

“Yes. Why, do you think something is wrong?”

“No, just sometimes when time passes our connections get a little rusty.”

Rusty Connections. As time passes things don’t move with the same fluidity. There can be resistance or breakdown. Sometimes, things just stop working.

Our relationships and our connections with others can get rusty. They may have become stiff and lack the flexibility they once had. The passage of time may have caused them to stop working the same way they did years ago.

There is good news. With effort, many of these Rusty Connections can move again. That effort may take the form of a phone call, a text or email, or even a letter (see below). But remember, a rusty hinge doesn’t return to its original state. Time has passed, and it will move again but in a slightly different way. Perhaps with a little more effort.

(I have a good friend who is single-handedly attempting to bring back the written correspondence approach, and I applaud and am participating in this effort. Why not give it a try?)

There is More to this NO than I can Explain

NO

NO. Followed by a puzzled look and a little pushback.

Sometimes there is more to this NO than I can Explain.

Sometimes there is no time to give the explanation due to the circumstances.

Sometimes there are others around who cannot hear the details.

NO needs Trust.

Trust that when the awkward No arrives and seems out of context that there is something more at stake.

Trust that when the situation calms or the opportunity arises, the explanation will come.

Trust that trusts you.

Plan With, Not Around

Plan With, Not Around

During a conversation with some friends at a local juice shop, we were talking about making time for various things.

Time to get together.

Time to ourselves.

Time to work on that book, project, or idea.

Time to give to other organizations.

Since the calendar is such a great way to plan, I spoke up with some advice about making and scheduling that time.

“Just put in on your calendar so you can plan around it.”

Immediately, another spoke up and provided a better phrase. A better mindset. A shift in thinking. The words provided the kind of shift that wakes you up, resonates, and changes your world.

“Put it on your calendar so you can plan WITH IT.”

To plan with these events incorporates them into our lives.

To plan around these events almost makes them separate from us, and more of a burden.

This idea hit home recently when trying to get time on the calendar with a couple that is close to us. The past months have felt more like trying to plan around everything else. Last night I was reminded of the juice shop conversation. We are going to pick some days and place them in the calendar. Not to plan around these events, but to plan with our lives.