Monday, 25 January 2010

Are you over extending yourself?

During Personal Training today we did some boxing. During the session I got a few twinges from muscles that I knew I shouldn't be using. On assessing my technique we realised I was over extending myself. If I continued for too long then the twinges would turn into something with longer term damage and impact.

That got me wondering about how we over extend ourselves in life. We try too hard, we push to far, we do too much. In the short term perhaps not a problem at all. But just like in PT today if we continue the strategy of over extending then we can't help but be impacted in the long term.

If I'd got my technique right I'd have been more effective. Which reminds me of a fabby session with Graham Canning of the Kaizen Institute the other week that had me thinking about applying lean principles to every day life not just car manufacturing! Sometimes being effective it's not about doing more but less.

Who takes ownership of business communications

In my last blog entry and in a couple of LinkedIn groups I issued a challenge to 'say it is as it is'.

It's interesting that whilst the example I used was a business one people suggested using caution when 'saying it as it is' personally. Quite rightly I was told that we don't just share an opinion with others without first considering the validity of them needing to hear our opinion nor consider their feelings. Empathy and rapport were both mentioned when considering the timing, words, tone and way in which the opinions are shared.

It made me wonder if that's what's missing in business communications? It's all too easy for someone to send out a company missive and hide behind the anonymity e.g:

* You're flight's been delayed by 3 hours and can't tell you any more.
* You're on the aircraft and the doors are closed but we're not taking off for 2 hours.

As soon as we spoke to a person - at the desk or the pilot - the message changed. There was certainly more empathy and rapport.

I'm not sure what the answer is but something to consider when asking business to say it as it is.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Say it as it is - campaign for 2010

I'm typing this from the runway, near enough anyway as I am on the plane. I arrived at 05.00 and it's now nearly 6 hours later and I'm still at the same airport even if on a different flight to a different airport!!!

Not a lot any airline can do about the impact of snow on their ability to land aircraft safely. A lot an airline can do on how they choose to communicate to their travellers. I've had 2 different experiences so far this morning.

The first is the type I'm sure we'll all used to - corporate lines, half truths to reduce the potential costs or negative response from the customers. Or even worse being told what they think you want to hear rather than the truth. Frustrating to be at the receiving end of and no use to enable us to make decisions or understand why we're not getting the service we expect.

The second is the refreshing type of saying is as it is. The BMI Captain on BD053 this morning did just that. "Sorry we're not going anywhere - this is why and more importantly this is why we've boarded you and what we need to do to increase our chances of getting an earlier departure time. Yes that has repercussions on the options you have but it's a choice I've had to make." WOW - that's honesty - thank you. And I think has meant we're still here 2 hours later and relatively calm.

I certainly aim to operate from 'saying it as it is'. It's not always easy and I often get told that I shouldn't be so open. That is the clients don't need to know the choices we've had to make nor problems we might be having. I disagree not least because people have a 'flannel/waffle' filter and know even if unconsciously they're not getting told everything. Which can lead to unwarranted mistrust or worse.

So my call for action today is to 'say it is as it is', congratulate those who do and let those who don't know that you'd appreciate their honesty and openness.