Communication is never easy, and I do all of mine in my second language. In addition, I employ several people who don’t have English as their mother tongue.
No wonder it can be a challenge sometimes.
There are many studies showing how different cultures communicate, and how that pattern change under pressure. One of my favourites showed a dramatic difference between Finnish and Italians who were told to give verbal instructions to a partner. The partner was instructed to “not understand”, at the same time as the time to complete the task was reduced to increase stress on the communicator.
The Finnish group made sentences shorter, and included silence. The Italian group increased both volume and words, coupled with hand gestures.
Twitter forces me to really think about what I want to say, and how to make it as succinctly as I can. It isn’t as easy for me to find the emotionally loaded words in English as it is in Swedish, so it makes for a great education.
I have discovered that the extra thinking that goes into that makes me better as a leader. I communicate clearer to my team. Perhaps Twitter forces that extra thinking time that we all need to be really good at what we do.
However….I am not suggesting we all become Finnish. The result of the study was that while there was a big difference in the method, the outcomes were largely the same between all groups.
20 years ago international scientific meetings used to be a source of great learning for doctors and nurses, but also a lot of fun and a bit of a break from the daily routine.
The change in regulations made sponsoring less available (a good thing, for many reasons) so fewer people could afford to go. And of course, a trip half way around the world (in some cases), being gone for most of a week, with hotel fees and registration costs makes it a big investment. But…it was all worth it, and even necessary; This is where the greatest research was presented with the latest updates from the most experienced thought leaders.
Today the world doesn’t function like that anymore.
Social media and online news makes innovation and clinical data instantly available to anyone across the globe.
So why would doctors still fly around to meetings if there really isn’t anything new?
There is always a big win from meeting and discussing…but most international congresses are not designed that way. They are dinosaurs from the old times, when professors sit at podiums and a presenter stands at a podium and reads off data from a powerpoint presentation.
Health care professional attendee numbers are declining and so are sponsors. No manufacturer can spend a fortune paying for stand space, shipping expensive exhibition materials and paying company representatives to attend a 5 day meeting…especially not when so few of the customers are attending. And if they don’t have anything new to launch (and why would they? Innovation cannot wait 7 months for the next international meeting), they are just showing the same things that they can show customers at home.
I believe we need to rethink the whole concept. Accept that the old days are gone, and so are the old ways.
Come on, brilliant marketing agencies and event organisers. Take us all into present time?!
I spend a lot of my time trying to improve healthcare for women. Instead of chasing profits, I support unrelated independent medical research with donations. I give money to Cancer research. Instead of giving myself a salary, I decide to donate 10% of all product turnover for Galaxy to The Fistula Foundation. Instead of hiring a team of experienced sales reps, I have established a team of clinical services, whose job it is to present our products and tell trusts about the facts about them….. instead of doing a hard sell of something the hospital may not even need.
In general, I consider myself a good person.
Today I was targeted by someone who clearly painted me with a different brush. 7 emails, within a couple of hours, clearly not aimed for a positive and constructive conversation.
I could do what most larger corporations do and completely ignore it. But, I happen to think that there must be some good ideas and something positive coming out of collaborating, so I engaged.
Time will tell if this was the right approach or not, but today I just feel slightly exhausted. I work hard to do things right and not take the easy road, and having to defend myself to someone who has decided who I am and what I do without having even met or ever talked to me hurts my feelings.
Thursday morning. Call from E at the congress. Someone has stolen the control unit for one of our products. The box was sitting under a table at our stand with several other exhibitors in the same location, but we have no idea who else had access to the room.
First I got offended. How rude! And then, quickly….anger. Who isn’t playing fair!? Come on, competition is healthy and good, as long as there is moral and ethics as a foundation.
But then, as the team corralled and started looking for a solution (we needed another unit there asap — the congress was starting, and we needed SOMETHING to demonstrate our new launch product with!), I sat down and though about it.
We would turn it into a Big Win.
Marketing made posters with a “MISSING LISA MARIE” theme all over them, and we plastered them all over the venue. We spoke to everyone about it, and we emailed all attendees. Our product ended up being the most spoken about, and even now, a week after the event, people ask how it is going. (It hasn’t been found yet, but if you have any idea where it is located, please email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Do I have any idea where it may be? Yep. But I prefer to think people are good, and there is no point in making accusations that have no proof, even if there is motif. I will put my inner Sherlock to bed and move on.
It helps growth tremendously to not have to be right. I find it intersting that when new people join the team, it takes a couple of months until they realise that there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a different view than me.
It may be because I deliberately hire people who I think can do a better job than me. But if that is the case, I am either wrong about the individual (has happened, obviously) or they have worked for a long time without realising their full potential. So let’s for arguments sake say that everyone in the team has worked at 75% before they come here, and I employ 10 people. That is me theoretically adding 0.25 x 10 people to the team, just by making sure each person gets the space and support they need to spread their wings and fully contribute to the best of their abilities.
And the best thing? Those 2,5 extra people doesn’t cost me a thing — quite the opposite. Employees love not being told to swim in their lane, and the environment we have is tremendously encouraging. I couldn’t ask for a more dedicated team.
This is working really well for us, and I wonder what else I can do to further improve it? Any ideas or suggestions are welcome!
Lots of things to manage when you’re running your own little shop. Todays challenges:
- I don’t have a will. I know that is really bad, and I need to get to it. But as a business owner, anything that isn’t directly or indirectly leading to someone wanting to buy my stuff automatically goes on the Yellow List (Pink List: Today stuff. Blue list: Tomorrow stuff. Yellow list: Later stuff).
- I have to start a company in Ireland.
I have absolutely no idea how to do that. Oh, and hire someone too. AND I need to start trading on January 1 2017.
So the first one is pretty simple, right? (apparently my suggested solution to the Financial Advisor of “Not Dying” wasn’t as funny as I thought. Oh well. )
- Make list of assets
- Make a will
- Appoint power of attorney
The second one….good thing I can reach out to my Trade Advisor at UK Trade & Investment for things like this. She will know what to do (or know someone who knows).
In short, on my To Do list for this weekend are:
- Don’t die yet; make will first
- Don’t get tempted by scruffy looking simple solution on how to incorporate in Ireland; talk to some sensible people who actually know what they are doing.
And on that note: Goodnight.
Twitter followers come and go for me. Sort of like tide.
I am competitive, so I like the ups, and I am trying hard not to take the downs personally. After all, it is not a goal in itself for me to have followers on my twitter or blog. I sell nothing, want you to sign up for nothing and basically have no interest in your money at all.
I am however keen on helping. Sometimes, only sometimes, I have felt that amazing feeling you get when you see something click for someone. They just saw things in a different way, from another angle, and it made them better. If I can do that, I am happy. But I digress.
Point is: do you know who your followers are and why they are following you? Perhaps that question is worth a thought not just for twitter, but for real life as well. And then….how can you help them?
Remember that movie “Pay It Forward”? Call me naive, but that’s what I am doing. What do you think? Am I just a bit too blue eyed?