Eagle Talk

The Power of Face-to-Face

Old joke. The Lone Ranger and Tonto ride into a deep valley.  Too late, they look around and realize they are surrounded on the high ground by a hostile Comanche war party.  “It looks like we’re in trouble, Tonto,” says the Lone Ranger.  Tonto looks around, “What do you mean ‘we’, white man?”  Personal pronouns matter even when a scalping is not in the offing.  Who is us and who is them?

As digital networks deepen, with more people connecting virtually, the networking value and power of a personal meeting increases dramatically. The communication highway of technology does not allow the depth of a face-to-face meeting where nuances of character, subtleties of experience, and an understanding of one’s personal wisdom is established.  Personal meetings have gained greater relevancy and value.

Technology empowers administrators.  Data permits administrators to collect more information and monitor employees with even greater scrutiny.  What this leads to is a series of rules and regulations, forms and inspections, focused on how someone is spending their time, not, are they being productive and successful in achieving their goals.  The great trap created by the age of information technology is that more and more individuals value procedure over substance.  This fosters a box-checking mentality, rather than individual self-reliance and connectivity.  One of the risks this brings with it is individuals can lose their personal creativity which is what makes them special and unique.

I have stressed time and again in coaching classes, emails, and telephone discussions, we do business with those individuals whom we like, trust, and who share our values.   Excellence in personal communication has never been more important or vital.  The only window we give others as to “who lives inside” is through our communication, primarily oral, but also written.  My experience supports the generalization if you can’t write well it’s difficult to think clearly.  If you are not orally articulate, there is a high percentage chance you will create misconceptions about the depth of your experience and knowledge.  You will give very poor insight to the rest of the world about your values: trust, integrity, truth, commitment, and being an individual who makes a difference.

A vibrant corporate culture should promote innovation and reward risk-takers.  Red tape strangles such initiative.  One could even say bureaucracy, the leadership of no one, has become the modern form of despotism.  During prosperous times, the enemy comes from within, and it is easy for bureaucracies to grow and develop, strangling innovative leadership.  During difficult Global times such as these, an individual’s personal leadership and moral courage becomes even more important if an organization wants to maintain its business excellence. 

Secrets for Your Leadership Success

  • Be an active owner and participant in your own success.  If you are unwilling to take responsibility for yourself and your own success, no one can help you!
  • In your effort at “Managing Expectations,” be highly aware of the Behavior Patterns of others.  Doing this well will save you time and undue frustration.  You will be more valuable to your “client.”  This connectivity will help you build a deeper and stronger relationship.
  • Always reinforce successful behavior.  When you find a behavior that you like and admire in someone, tell them.  Positive reinforcement is a powerful motivator for change, much more so than criticism.
  • Successful leadership is built upon “Words and Deeds Matching.”  If you wish to discover an individual’s true intentions, pay close attention to their actions.
  • Always be aware of the “Leadership trap” I refer to as “Unintended Circumstances.” These are situations that occur you cannot always plan for.  Knowing a situation may be out of your control and you cannot fix it, is an important leadership skill.  Learning to step back, looking pragmatically into the situation, finding a different pathway and answer for achieving success, is one of the hallmarks for successful leadership.  Your ability to be able to change direction easily, and with confidence, is critical for your long term success.

There is no substitute for a face-to-face client meeting. During the remainder of this year, I urge each of you to pause and consider, “Am I communicating at the top of my game?

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