Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Don’t push me to the brink

- Mobile number portability got introduced in India some days back. When unhappy customer tried moving to other telecom operator she is given cheaper monthly rental and very attractive call rates plan.
- An employee stays with a company for years but when desired growth doesn’t happen she finally resigns, disgruntled. Then same company offers her a good salary hike plus other perks.
- A service offered is not up to the mark. Customer requests, grovel, cries; in vain. She threatens to sue the company in consumer court. Service is provided and some placatory compensation is doled out by company.

Why companies push people the brink and when customer is about to cut loose then same company try to retain them. It doesn’t work. Once human loyalty is hijacked, you won’t be able to rekindle same faith in customer. You might be able to retain customer but she won’t act as your advocate. She will be there with you just for the time being and something better will lure her away. Broken trust is nearly impossible to repair. And in this lightening paced world people don’t have time to trust you for the second time.

Dear corporation, don’t push me to the brink.

Dear Executive, Are you reading the stats on how many people were pushed to the brink in your company, how many of them stayed back, stayed for how long, anything you could have done to not to push them to the brink?

Write to me

Managers/Leaders/Executives often ask themselves: How do I build trust with my team. How to open floodgates of communications? How to tell team members to open up  so as to seek real feedback? How to create an environment of openness?

Writing, personally, to your team once a week (or once in 2 weeks) is the mantra that can make things happen. It can be sort of blog but you send that in a mail to your team, directly to their inbox. When Leader writes to me directly apprising me of the plans, happenings, learning, successes, failures, i feel special. I feel being valued. I feel that am worthy in hierarchy and not just a  cog. I will appreciate that you took time to write to me.

Make this writing subtle professional with a touch of team warmth. Write some informal stuff at the end to give it a personal touch and not just any newsletter.

Benefits to this practice:
- It kills rumors. I strongly feels that ‘Rumors are failure of leadership’. People usually get information through various informal channels but when a leader substantiates/discard/reason the rumours/happenings then it breeds faith and kill future gossips.
- It gives a sense of reassurance  to people at ground level, at all levels, to your team.
- It creates openness. People will write more to you giving you right ideas/feedback/opinions.
- It gives people a chance to confide in you. It open direct channel, kills hierarchy.
- It pushes your middle management layer to be more open, deliver more and keep promises. 

Whether you are doing good, or its just business as usual or you are in some unruly crisis, write to me.

PS: While i was working for British Telecom, Mark use to write to entire team every week and i just loved the concept. Thanks Mark.