Radio Silence? Try Harder.

2013-radio-silenceAfter reading Brad Feld’s The Reputational Damage of Non-Responsiveness  and the comments, I think there might be something missing in the projections of motive onto the offenders.

Can we agree that most people are bad managers of their time and also are blind to their own limitations like being bad time managers, being rude and unresponsive, being incoherent and imprecise in their communications, and being easily distracted by less important but interesting activities?

Is it realistic to expect offenders to make any changes?

Here’s what I do instead:

1. Explicitly declare the “Possession Arrow” in the first contact and the duration of the “Shot Clock
2. After the first radio silence prefix [Possession Arrow] to the Subject: line and don’t just forward the original e-mail. That’s lazy. Use the opportunity to coherently state the action required.
3. Over-communicate and use different channels – don’t over-rely on e-mail when a phone call, text, or in-person ambush might be more effective.
4. Assume there’s a good reason for their radio silence and then try harder to be understood.
5. Send them a book about time management or something related with a personal note.

Precision in communications at the beginning helps to escalate subsequent exchanges.

The secret to project management applies in these communication strategies as well.

“Don’t just roll a turd out on the table. Get someone to pick it up.”

Just because you e-mailed it, spoke it once, texted it, or nagged about it, doesn’t mean the listener actually understood or agreed with the action you want them to take.

Try harder.

You likely won’t make much progress where the projected motives are accurate (arrogance and rudeness, for example) but the practice will make you a better communicator.


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