It’s not what you think

Almost every day I’m reminded that what I think is not important. It matters more what other people think.

This applies in so many ways.

For example, it could be that you’re talking to your children about their school work and how important it is to achieve good grades.  But if your kids don’t think it’s important they won’t make the necessary extra effort!

Or perhaps you’re dealing with a supplier. You’ve given them a due date but they’re thinking, ‘Oh well, last time we were a couple of weeks late and they didn’t mind, so it won’t matter if we’re late this time’.

Or you might be having difficulty with a member of the team who is failing to follow a routine or procedure. They don’t think the routine is important, so it slips their mind sometimes. Timesheets, expense reports, customer visit reports – these can all fall into the ‘unimportant’ category.

Take another example –  you’re working with a customer on a development project. You think you’re making great progress, but the customer doesn’t see it that way.  Perhaps this is because you are focusing on elements of the project they don’t see as critical?

There’s a link between all these different scenarios of course. It’s all about communication.

I believe I‘ve quoted the great writer, George Bernard Shaw, in this space previously. He said –

‘The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.’

Communication is a two-way process. Putting an announcement on the noticeboard, or even sending an email, is not communication. These only become communication when the announcement or the email are read (and understood) by others.

You need to enter into a dialogue with the other party to confirm that your message has not only been received, but understood.

If all you do is broadcast you’re only halfway there.