Monday, October 31, 2011

I See You

This seems like a rather strange phrase here in America. Perhaps when you have played with a small child you have used those words as part of a game but it does not seem part of our everyday. Maybe you remember it from the movie “Avatar”. In some parts of the world, “I see you” is used each and every time they greet someone. This would be similar to us saying “hello” although it expresses much deeper meaning. It is saying, “I recognize you as a person, as important, as you have my attention.”

Perhaps this would be a phrase to use with your employees on a regular basis. In my years in the industry, more employees have left an employer because they did not feel the owner or owners did not care about them as a person, as important or give them the attention they deserved than any other reason. Yes, pay was mentioned often, and the opportunity to grow and advance but these can be traced to “not seeing them”.

I was visiting with a business owner several years ago in his office and he was not seeing me. He was so preoccupied with his computer screen that he barely, if at all, looked at me during our 5 to 10 minute conversation. I felt unimportant, not a person across the desk, and not having his attention. I left that conversation feeling this owner did not respect me and I had very little respect for him. Is this happening with you and your employees, customers and suppliers? If so, a change in these habits can improve your company without a dime of cost.

Here are some thoughts for you to mull over and see if they might be of help.

1. When you are having a conversation with someone at your desk, turn the screen of your computer so it does not distract you from the conversation.

2. Turn down the ringer in your cellphone and landline so they are not a distraction and the calls go to voice mail.

3. Turn off the tone for an incoming text and leave the text reply until after the meeting

4. Keep the conversation on topic so it doesn’t drag out and waste time for both of you.

5. If it is possible, have the conversation at the employees work area or “off campus” such as a coffee shop.

6. Know more about your employees that just their name. Ask about their life outside of work without getting too personal.

7. Have regularly scheduled meeting with your employees without interruptions.

I see you can change your business. Drop me an email and give me your thoughts.