I remember interviewing someone for a key leadership position at my operation in Thailand, and halfway through the conversation, as he was telling me about his qualifications, he announced, with much pride, that he was an alcoholic and had a lot of passion for what he did. Startled at this revelation and puzzled as to why he would so freely divulge this information and wear it as a badge of honor, I circled back to the comment and asked him to elaborate a little. He went on to mention a few more times that he had been an alcoholic for as long as he could remember and that his job always came first. Upon further questioning, the poor fellow realized that he had been saying “alcoholic” when he meant to be saying “workaholic!”
If your organization suffers from a persistent communication problem and all your attempts at solving the problem have failed, it could be because poor communication is only a symptom of the real problem that you should be addressing. If you are constantly training your people on communication skills and trying one tool or process after another, only to see them seemingly go to waste, it is because your bottleneck is probably not a missing tool set or even skill set. If this is the situation you find yourself in, I submit that you don’t really have a communication problem, but rather a commitment problem!
I have a confession to make. My natural tendency is to be a glass half-empty person. And to be completely transparent, I am more like a glass 5% empty person. It has taken me years to realize that the part of me that feels inadequate and always projects the worst case scenario into the future and worries about events that will most likely never occur is never going to go away. One of the greatest revelations I have had in my life is that rather than trying to silence that little voice in the back of my head that hardly ever has anything good to say I should focus on developing the conviction to remain in action and move forward while the little naysayer is doing his thing, trying to derail my efforts to be extraordinary and accomplish great things.
I have always had a particular fascination with time travel. I love to watch time travel movies and, like many of us, I often contemplate what the world would be like if we had the ability to go back in time or get a sneak peak at the future. I have also often toyed with the notion of what advice I would give my younger self, having the wisdom of experience, so that he might avoid some of the pitfalls and mistakes that I simply was not able to see coming at the time. As the expression goes, hindsight is 20/20, and who out there wouldn’t want their younger self to benefit from the perspective and clarity that comes with age and experience?
For those of us who plan to celebrate the arrival of 2017 in a little over a week from now, this is a time of reflection and planning. Many of us will make New Year’s resolutions and around 86% of us will abandon them by the end of February. The main reason for this is that we normally rely on self-discipline to do what we have resolved to do, but we often do so without true commitment to the outcome we say we want. And that is a losing combination, because self-discipline in the absence of real commitment simply does not work.