I spent a weekend at the beach reading “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. If you’ve never read it, then pick it up tomorrow. During this weekend I remembered, again, what is key to everyone’s success and future.
Here’s the deal – if you want to sell more, provide better service, increase your team’s performance, move up the proverbial ladder, then realize this – you don’t do it without a community around you, and you don’t get the honor of having a community if you fail to put energy into how you communicate with others.
We are living in a world that is filled with hourly news of volcanoes, floods, war, oil spills, political differences, sexual affairs, and unethical leadership in corporate America. This doesn’t even include facing downsizing, medical costs we can’t afford, mortgages we can’t pay, and even family animals we can’t afford to keep. What does this mean? We’re scared. What does that mean? We get mean.
We attack each other personally, we create good and bad guys, and we are led by the loudest opinion shared. Unfortunately, those that share the loudest opinions are often extortionists that need attention and will do anything for money. We believe them, because we’re afraid not to. We’re not sure of ourselves, so we follow any idiot that acts like they have the answer.
Well, it’s time to stop the anger and start communicating again. That means:
If we want to succeed individually or as a company or a country, we have to learn to communicate again. As Abraham Lincoln said (paraphrasing Jesus in the New Testament), “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” We have entered an emotional civil war that is dividing friends, families, and causing companies to fail.
David Coates, professor of political science at Wake Forest University, says: “In times of economic and social trouble, politics tend to become angrier, and it’s up to intellectuals to maintain the kind of civil, democratic discourse this country was built upon – to lower the heat and increase the light.”
I make a personal commitment to share with you anything I find that will strengthen communication between people. I am starting with a new Facebook fan page titled Highfill Performance Group called “Debate without Hate.” This will be a place intellectuals can share their opinions without the fear of being personally slammed. If anybody gets personal or becomes a hate monger, they’ll be asked to leave immediately. If you want to think about what happens to a world that won’t communicate, read my story “Alien Nation.”
Until that time, realize that you are a teacher. The way you speak to others is what the smallest, most precious of our human beings are watching. In addition, your personal success is tied up in how successfully you communicate with others. You can’t do this alone. So, become a more giving communicator again. Listen to people out of kindness. Speak with responsibility. And work every day to “lower the heat and increase the light.”