I recently put my desk out with my team so we could collaborate on the fly as we work together on the new platform for YouInc, set to launch this fall. There are many moving parts to creating a new technology practice and it has been quite the experience for me working on building a site that I hope will serve entrepreneurs in a unique and meaningful way.
Up until the point I moved my desk, I was relying on scheduled meetings and emails to keep me informed and updated. My team was giving me what I needed when I needed it but I wasn’t giving them what they needed – face time. Since I put my desk in the middle of our space, I’ve re-learned a valuable lesson. One that, as a communicator, I have known all along is good practice but, as sometimes happens, let slip.
It’s so easy to rely on texts and emails. So easy, in fact, that sometimes we view a phone call or a personal inquiry to be an unwanted distraction or even a waste of time. I don’t know about you but personally I much prefer speaking face-to-face with someone who is asking me to run a marathon with them; and, as an entrepreneur, that’s what you are asking your team to do with you each and every day.
You are building a business, not a library. Those thousands of emails and texts will not be what you proudly hold up at the end of the journey. The relationships you build with your team will be what matters most and what drives your business forward. And those relationships are built one at a time, connecting person to person.
As an entrepreneur being close to your team is critical. They need to hear from you, not through emails and distant lofty missives, but through contact and seeing you around the office. Walking the halls is something all business owners can do more often – whether your office has halls (maybe it’s just one room!) or operates across multiple floors, the art of personally connecting makes your vision much more meaningful to your employees.
There is a saying that email is good for content not intent. Isn’t that the truth? We all have sent a note in a hurry only to find out that the receiver is perplexed, perturbed or really pissed off at what we unintentionally “implied” or “said” without us even knowing we had said it.
Too many exclamation points, not enough words or explanation – all of these lead to miscommunication and sometimes bad blood between co-workers.
Get out there. Put yourself in front of people, not behind a computer. Make sure you check-in with your team on the phone, not always on email. A personal touch can make all the difference in a digital world.