Its amazing how everyone knows communication is important but yet when it comes to actually communicating they are not good communicators at all.
What is worse than not communication is the crutch people use to not communicate. I call this crutch “Process”. IE creating a system where people don’t need to communicate as everything is written down and managed; all the variables are known… yeh right…
A great example of this scenario comes out of what I call a “something happened” meeting, basically something didn’t go according to plan. At these meetings I see a lot of people using the terms, “we don’t want to point fingers”, and “we just want to see what can be learned”, “learn so we don’t have this happen again”.
While I agree with this sentiment, and not wanting to de-motivate people sometimes you need to figure out what actually happened. However what normally happens is some key things are written down that can be learned.
After we figure out what sort of happened and how the train got off the tracks, there are two general outcomes that I see:
1. Say don’t let this happen again and if you feel like something is wrong please speak up
2. Create some sort of process to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
I hate option 2, Plain and simple, it literally boils my blood. Why?
Well first I think it creates what I call a “protective shield from responsibility”. That employee or team or whoever can now follow a process that will make their managers smile, and if shit goes wrong they have a process to say “well it wasn’t in the manual or guide, so I didn’t do it”. We have essentially stopped them from thinking and using their brain. Seems dumb if you think you have talented employees. I want my teams to think, be smart, and make decisions. I think we will be better for it, even if we mess up from time to time.
Second, it takes up a lot of useless time! How many meetings does it take to “decide” on the process, and then someone has to go away and build the damn thing. We then have all to “agree” on it. Then it gets formalized, then approved, then someone has to implement it, and finally the best part AUDIT! We now need to have someone check to make sure people are working! In that amount of time I’m pretty sure my team could release a mobile version of our site…. If you do this you stop adding actual value and add busy work.
This is why I love option 1. We fucked up, we admitted it, we learned from it. We went back to work. If you feel we are missing something it is your responsibility to speak up. The best part about this process, it fosters people to think and it spreads organically through the entire business. I now have people every day telling me how to create a better product, and I love it, it gets me amped to come to work.
This is how we run New Ninjas, we talk, we communicate, we speak up (it sometimes created heated debates, Brian and I love going toe to toe) but some our best breakthroughs have happened because we love to talk. Our team is smart and we foster talent, to do that you have to let people work free. Get done what you say you will, but do it smartly and we will never get mad.