I recently was having coffee with a CFO and I asked him, “What disappoints you about business today?” He had no trouble answering. There were three, specific things. After hearing them, I was in 100% agreement with him. Here they are, with some additional commentary from yours truly:
- Technology enables inhumaneness. People hide behind technology. Email, Text, Slack, Gchat. On social media, people hide behind aliases and anonymous profiles, behaving in rude and arrogant ways that they would never act in person.
- People rarely return phone calls anymore. I was taught that you always returned phone calls, even if it was just to say, “no thank you” to somebody. Voicemail used to be a way that you could still get things done, and was very helpful when both parties had busy, hectic schedules. Now I encounter a surprising number of people who don’t even have a voicemail box set up on their phone.
- Fewer and fewer people follow through on their commitments. This one is pretty mind-boggling. We’re talking about professionals; people who are paid to do what they do for an organization. Yet they pick and choose what to follow through on. People today are “committed” to something as long as that “commitment” works for them. If circumstances change and the reward, outcome or dynamic is less important or desirable…their commitment becomes expendable.
Along with the above is an overall lack of consequences for these behaviors. We don’t get what we expect in life, we get what we tolerate. And these behaviors have sadly become the norm.
So, what’s the lesson here? Simple. If you want to be different…if you want to stand out…if you want to be seen as a true professional, then don’t do these three things. Don’t hide behind technology. Be there person who is willing to interact in person. Be known as the person who returns calls. Be the person others know they can count on to follow through on commitments. You’ll be amazed at what it does for your mindset and your personal brand.