Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Who should I call?

I just finished a report after many employee ‘listening sessions’. I’ve done 4 of these projects now and heard over 1000 people who - and it’s peculiar - stick to the same topics and concerns year after year.

They talk about work/life balance (no one has it) and flex time (not everyone is for it). They talk about how nobody ever tells them anything (and sometimes they’re right). And they talk about not knowing who to go to with work questions, problems or ideas. They complain about having to ask other people for direction about who else to approach.

I’m always flabbergasted at that one. Yes, company phone books and org charts aren’t always in great shape but surely that’s not a reason to toss up your hands and give up?

Let’s use the example of being new to the city. You need to set up a home with services. You need to find activities. You need to get restaurant recommendations. Yes, there's a city phone book - always a place for the big ticket items. But do you stop there? Do you expect by examining neighbourhood maps or city websites that you should find everything you need regarding your personal project needs?

Of course not.

You ask friends and neighbours. You chat up whomever is in line at the grocery store. You pass yourself from person to person until you find the pieces you need. It’s expected.

We do the same to both build our network and mine it. We are mentored to do this. Heck, that’s why this blog has the reference to circles - they overlap, they ripple, they widen.

So WHY is it considered to be such a hardship to do it as part of our jobs? Frankly, that’s just silly. And even sillier to hold the organization accountable beyond producing the phone book. Hmph!

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