Guident Newsletter – April 2017 – Issue 12

I thought I was a good communicator, not so much!

At one time in my career, I was a partner in a manufacturing company with a multi-million dollar annual budget.  I pride myself on being a good communicator and I was, at work.  I remember one particular month when we experienced a $20,000 operating loss.  I was frustrated with our poor performance and called all managers into an executive meeting to assess the root cause of the problem and to develop a strategy to correct the operations so we would not have to experience this type of loss again.  I was satisfied we had the problem identified and a good plan of action going forward.  Nonetheless, I was still very frustrated with our poor performance.

Later in the day when I arrived home my wife was at the kitchen counter preparing our meal for the night.  She sensed that I was frustrated and asked what was wrong.  I said, “We had a terrible month and lost $20,000.” I immediately went outside to “shoot some buckets” in our driveway.   This was one of the ways I de-stressed at the end of the day.  After a while, I was feeling much better and went inside for dinner.

I noticed my wife was very stressed and I then asked her what was wrong?  As you can imagine, the whole while I was outside de-stressing with the basketball, she was in the kitchen fretting that we were in dire straits and on the road to losing our house and all we’ve worked for.  I realized I gave her half of the information she needed, and the worse half at that.  I promptly explained that our team of bright managers had already met and developed a fix for the problem.

I also realized that to my wife who managed our home budget, a $20,000 loss was a huge number that from her viewpoint could cause a bankruptcy of the company.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of money in any organization but as part of a multi-million dollar operation, it was not going to crash the organization.  I then helped her to understand the relationship of the numbers so she would feel more at ease.

For a guy who prides himself on being a very good communicator at work, I realized I fell way short at home.  At that point, I realized I needed to make a more concerted effort to be as good a communicator at home as I was at work.