You better think.
A few of the reviewers for my forthcoming book, Community as a Safe Place to Land, noted that a community will be hard pressed to exist without respectful communication.
Indicative of politeness or deference.
Communication consists of more than talking, posting, tweeting, yelling, and insulting. It requires and exchange of information.
Exchange is more than returning something. It implies a reciprocity. You give something; you receive something. It implies a relationship of sorts. Listening. Speaking. Listening some more.
Earlier this year I wrote,
When leaders do not authentically share the organization’s story with their employees, the employees will create the story.
Worse, the leader loses authority/power/control and influence.
This dynamic goes beyond the workplace. For instance, when:
- A citizen sends an email about a community issue to a local government official and there is zero response, the citizen gets to create the story—and share it with others.
- A customer sends a concern to a company’s “Contact Us” link and receives no response, that customer gets to create the story—and share it with others.
- A community committee member takes time to share thoughtful and civil ideas and questions with other members and receives no reply or acknowledgement, that member gets to create the story—and share it with others.
- An organization’s leadership asks for input and then the input is ignored, the folks supplying the unacknowledged thoughts get to create the story—and share it with others.
Conversely, when there is a response, a different story is created due to the communication. We might not like the message but at least when an earnest and timely attempt has been made to respectfully communicate, the relationship remains in tact. When can continue the exchange.
It’s not rocket science. If someone takes the time to reach out to you or your organization, make sure that person receives a considered response. Engage in an exchange. If you don’t, have you considered the consequences? Do you really want to relinquish the storyline?
Think about it.
Video Recommendation of the Week:
Aretha Franklin (and the Blues Brothers in this video) remind us to “Think.” As she sings, “It don’t take too much IQ to see what you’re doing to me. You better think! ….You need me, and I need you. Without each other, there ain’t nothin’….”
For more about community building and sustainability,
look for my new book, Community as a Safe Place to Land,
due out the beginning of 2019. More information to come.