Have you ever had one of those days where everything you say turns into something other than what you actually meant ? Where your good intentions are misperceived and before you know it, you are trying to figure out how to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.
Well, it is bound to happen, no matter what you mean to say, someone might misunderstand, might perceive something that was not intended. Is there anything we can do ? For the most part we all need to step back from the edge and think about what we say and how we say it, and sometimes, not even say it at all. E-mail is one of the worst tools in the corporate world. We laugh sometimes at the hundreds of emails that we get each day, like it is some measure of how productive (or important) we are, like the modern day “In Tray”, it has become the unofficial measure of productivity……. NOT !
It is time to return to face to face communication, at least that way you know how what you are saying is being received. One of the managers on my team really impressed me recently. There was an issue that emerged from a user department, they were asking a question I could not answer, I had to forward it on to Bill. (Bill is on the far right, holding the award) It took Bill a few days to work through the event, do you know why, he actually went around and spoke to all the players, face to face, the old fashioned way. His last stop was with me, he told me what he had communicated to everyone, let me know that the matter was closed and that he would send out a follow up email to summarize the matter and close the issue. NOW THAT WAS REFRESHING, and I was REALLY impressed. It takes time, patience and diligence to work through an issue like that, but you know what, there will be no miss-perceptions, Bill knows what he told everyone, he knows how they reacted and he MANAGED the matter. Way to go Bill. Many of us could learn a lesson or two from Bill, stop trying to cover ourselves, feather our own nests. Just make things happen !
I on the other hand
thought I would cut an issue off at the pass late last week and shoot an email off to one of the Executives to let him “know” that we are on top of an issue. Well if I would have pulled myself back from the edge and thought about how my message might be perceived, I would not have sent the email. I found out early this week that the information I was given was somewhat incomplete, yet I acted on it, even the best of intentions can be wrong.
From the front lines………. Take a step back.
Someone else’s perception of who and what you are might become your reality, be very careful not to let this happen, otherwise you will be battling an invisible enemy. Stay focused, keep your head down and your eye on the goal, and listen to what you say from the other person’s perspective.