How often as parents we have heard those words – and how often have we said, “Stop asking! We’ll be there when we get there!”
It seems like we have reverted to childhood as businesses and citizens we are still asking, “Are we there yet?” And, all too often the response is the same as we told our children – we’ll be there when we get there. All this is telling us is that those in charge may not know where we are or how to get to where we need to be. We don’t like to think of parents, or business owners, or leaders of being “lost” or unsure. We want them to be our all knowing, all capable leaders.
But, if you think about it, they are no more or less than we are. They are people struggling with the social, economical, and political issues of the day – just like we are.
Instead of asking if we are there yet, maybe we should be asking, “What can I do to help get us there?” As a parent, if my child had asked that I would have thought, “Wow, this kid gets it!” and my response back may have been a calm, thanks, I need to concentrate on driving so if you would keep an eye out for this exit — and let me know when we are close, that would be a big help”. How different the trip might have been – less stressful, less angst, and much easier on everyone.
If you apply this scenario to business, our employees are asking if we are there yet. How much more productive it would be if they asked if they could help get us where we need to be. There are some businesses that have that type of rapport with their employees as communication is good and the employees are willing and able to offer suggestions, support, ideas, and guidance. Unfortunately, many businesses do not have open communication with their employees so the owners/management are trying to carry the load on their own.
What would happen if those businesses open up to their employees and said the road is terrible and there may be detours ahead. Are you willing to help drive the business? I need you to look for potholes and barriers – can you do that? I don’t know when we will reach our destination but I’m in for the long haul if you are here with me.
What do you think your employees would say?
I believe they would roll up their sleeves and say, let’s get this show on the road! We are all in this together.
Employees, just like us, want honesty and truthfulness. They want open communication (and by that I am not saying you have to give away company secrets) and to be counted on in a crisis. They don’t want to be kept in the dark or treated like children.
If we, as business owners start acting in this manner, maybe even our elected officials will also start to act in this frame of mind and be open and honest and listen to what we have to say.
I truly believe we are almost there – we just need to work on how we get there.