Tag Archives: Startups

The Silent No

shush

 

This is the beginning of what will one day be a book, written just as soon as I come up with some genius formula for handling The Silent No.

If you’re not familiar with the phrase, it is when rather than giving you a ‘no’, or ‘check back in a few weeks’ in regards to whatever it is that you may be discussing, the person you are in conversation with simply ignores you in the hopes you’ll go away.  Rather than have to deal with a difficult ( 2-second) situation or having to justify their answer (ok fair enough but surely not to those you have a working relationship with?) they simply ignore all further communication with you until, after weeks of frustration and not-knowing, you eventually crawl back under your rock.

I’m discovering that in business development, many don’t like to ever give a ‘no’ in case they want to later change their mind or worse, in case I’m the next Facebook and they become that idiot that turned down Facebook.

I’m also discovering that in general, if someone is busy and doesn’t want to engage in a conversation that week, they also will simply ignore you – sometimes for weeks – until the point in time in which they are ready to again proceed.

The trouble is – both situations look on the surface like The Silent No.  The solution?  Weekly diary reminders to ‘email Frank again to touch base’ until eventually the stars align and he is ready to move forward or until I finally lose the will to live and relegate Frank’s details to the  ‘if we ever are really really successful don’t let this guy use our tech’ pile.

Like I said, I don’t yet have a genius formula, but would love to hear from those of you that think you might have insight… or who just want to rant.

Culture Shock & Other Things

Creating change is easy  (ok not that easy, but easier…).  Sustaining change, is hard.

I can cut my hair, quit my job, jump on the wagon, scrap all my systems, decide on new systems, all quite easily.  Sustaining these changes well is a whole different story.

Implementing a new process in to a business I have decided is a whole lot like losing weight.  With a goal in sight and sheer determination just about anyone can lose weight.  It’s exciting seeing the change and the benefit… enough to make the pain worth it.  But once you’ve hit your goal, a lifetime of bad habits and comfort-based behaviours start creeping in.   Before you know it life takes over and we’ve slipped back to what we know best or are most familiar with.  Of course this will at some point cause us to blame the process (or in this example whatever fad diet we got the results with) leading us to select another process – and we’re off again.  Change has to be sustainable.

Change in the workplace is similar.  We have a problem, so we find a solution, implement and often voila! we get results.  But over time we slip back in to our old habits, back to whatever is most comfortable.  My advice?  Don’t ignore the steps required to make change sustainable, and don’t ditch the process when things go a little wobbly for a new, shinier process (unless yours really is awful).  Consistency in an organisation can be a real battle, but one worth fighting, as this is what real growth is built upon.