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#321: If a phone rings in the woods, and you're not around to answer it, why are you considered rude?
Things are changing so fast, how do we make sure the team is all on the same page?
This week, I listened to a great discussion between Bridget Phetasy and Thomas de Zengotita on the Walk-Ins Welcome Podcast.
During the podcast, Thomas used an analogy that hit home. He talked about when the 1st answering machines came out, and he refused to get one. He figured if it was important enough, people would call back, or if it weren’t, they wouldn’t call. It was up to the caller to decide. Then, his publisher asked him why he didn’t have an answering machine, berating him because it was rude for him not to adapt to this new technology.
Why is it rude? Because you are forcing the other person to call back and not giving them the convenience of leaving a message for you to do what you want.
Previously, the social norm put the inconvenience on the caller. Then, it switched, but no one told Thomas! Using today’s technology as an example, we don’t have to leave messages; we can call and hang up; the receiver has caller ID and knows you called. You send a text, which shows on your phone if it was delivered and read. Every day, social norms change, and we expect others to adapt. We now expect people to return calls where there is no message at all! Are we being fair?
Social norms, setting expectations
Let’s use this analogy, but apply it to creating expectations about behavior from your team. What new social norms are being placed upon your team without their knowledge or acceptance?
Lady Susan Hussey, 83, a longtime confidante of Queen Elizabeth II, was forced to resign from her post for asking a black guest where she was from. The guest, a London resident, was at an event dressed in African attire and appeared to be from Africa took offense to this and went to the press complaining that Lady Hussey was a racist.
Why am I bringing this up? Because we expect an 83-year-old woman to understand the nuances of today’s language and accuse her of being a racist. Something that not long ago was a simple conversation starter is now offensive. Penalizing the person because we expect her to be up to speed on everything.
When you embark on a new path, how long do you give the team to adapt? For example, if you have always started meetings 10 minutes late, but from today on, you decide not to do that, your team will not be ready. Are you going to discipline them? Will that be fair-minded to do so?
We often discuss culture and how to develop it in the organization. One essential part of implementation is to set forth your expectations. This involves good communication skills and practices. There are three steps to effective communication. First, you send a message to the receiver. They then respond with their understanding of the message, and the third and most crucial part you confirm that you are both on the same page. Some courses spend weeks discussing how we do this, but ultimately, those three steps are all you need to remember to communicate effectively.
But I sent out an email with the policy.
Sending out a memo to the organization that all meetings will begin promptly and that they must be in their seats ready to go at least 5 minutes before the meeting is only step one in the process. Have they responded? Were there any questions about the policy? What are the penalties, and when will those begin?
So often in coaching sessions, I hear, “But I sent out an email.” Yet, that person claims they get 300 or more emails daily in that same session. Is it reasonable to assume that others had time to read and understand this new policy?
We often read and hear about people being canceled for something that is now socially unacceptable. Are you holding people responsible for something you expect them to know? We don’t want to be accused of being too slow to adopt policies and procedures, but that never means it is okay to sacrifice communication norms.
Cultural development is about consistency. We need to lead by example and also observe behaviors. When someone is acting out or contrary to a policy, pull them aside to determine if they are aware. It’s okay to give someone a break if they didn’t know the policy - why - because it’s your responsibility to ensure the understanding.
To implement something quickly, you must go through those three communication steps. It requires patience, but your team will respect you more for it in the long run. Having patience requires hard work today, but it will lead you to a better tomorrow.
Connect with the Kole Performance Group if you are having issues implementing policies. Schedule a Free 30-minute call now!