The end of the year is often a time to reflect and as I look back on 2011, I see things that I didn’t do and I pause to wonder if it was the right thing to NOT do:
I didn’t ask anyone to vote for me, friend me, join my newsletter distribution list or pass the latest issue along, follow me, retweet me, or ask any of their followers or friends to do any of those things. I thought people would prefer to think for themselves and do what the thought was best. I may have been wrong. I didn’t have a huge jump in followers, friends, or retweets. But I did get more work this year than in the past. Go figure!
I didn’t agree to do whatever was asked of me. This meant not cramming more people into a training room than I could handle well, avoiding days and times when no one wants to pay attention to what is being presented (no matter how compelling), not ‘smushing’ several unrelated topics together into one incoherent program, or traveling to distant locations to work with people who didn’t want to meet with me. I slept better.
I didn’t avoid hard truths. This meant telling people their performance was insufficient, that there would be consequences to their inaction or action, that anger, whining, and impatience were not management skills, and that they were capable but unwilling or apparently incapable. It also meant communicating clearly that there was probably nothing more I could help them with so the rest was going to be up to them applying the behaviors we were talking about, not just talking about the behaviors. People made progress.
I didn’t follow up ‘just one more time.’ After some combination of three emails, voice mails, or actual conversations, I stopped reminding people of their interest. I assumed (again) that these professionals had moved on and were unwilling or unable to tell me. It didn’t matter if we had met, had talked about working together in specific terms, if I had submitted a proposal, or they had asked for dates and times. I pretended that they had told me that we would not be working together after all. I spent more time working with the people who did respond, which those folks seemed to like just fine.
It’s not that I don’t want more people on my newsletter distribution list retweets, followers – I do. I want more people to read my blog! I definitely want to meet the needs of my clients, have them appreciate honest and supportive feedback. And it would be great if I was able to secure responses from people I have been talking with about working together.
So will I do something different in 2012? I think it’s unlikely. I like working with people who know how to leverage a relationship with a consultant and know the difference between what I do and an employee. I like treating people like adults. I appreciate people who see that my honesty comes from a place that is respectful and supportive.
I will do other things differently in 2012. Wondering what will be different? Wait and see!