On a recent trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico I had dinner at a highly recommended restaurant in old town San Juan. The decor was “trendy on steroids”, one of those places that made you feel like you needed a man pony tail, a goatee mustache, pair of Capri pants and Italian sandals. The furniture was… well different and confusing. My chair was built more for a 4th grade school girl than a 50 something man. It was really narrow and I was concerned if I got up the chair would be permanently attached.
My real adventure came when I excused my self to the washroom. Turning and twisting my way through the maze of ultra sheik furnishing and panels of shear fabric streaming from the ceiling I entered the washroom corridor. There were two black doors, one for men and one for women… but which was which. There were no Men and Women, Cowboys, Cowgirls, Pirates, Winches signs on the doors, there were no pictures of figures in pants and the other in a dress. The only possible hint appeared to be displayed in two modern art paintings hung next to each door. Now I have to admit, I was puzzled because with enough imagination either one could have passed for either sex and the more I starred the more questions I had. Was it a “trick 3D” type picture that if you look at just the right place long enough a clear and vivid “sign” would appear. Were the subjects standing on their heads or did the painting have absolutely nothing to do with the washrooms. After a bit of studying, I made a best guess choice and to my relief I chose wisely.
Leaders Do Not Make the Simple Stuff Confusing
Get to the point when you communicate, there is no need to take people on a mind bending journey. Identify the issue up front, “sales are at 95% of plan”, “production is at 80% of schedule”, “profits are 70% of target” and so on. State the issue up front and early don’t leave people wondering where you are headed or the true nature of your agenda. Communicate in simply terms by using the following steps:
- Where you are
- Where you should be
- How you will get there
- How it will look when you arrive
Leaders Communicate and Connect
When you communicate, be yourself and people will buy into you and then buy into your agenda. Talk to people like they are people instead of corporate assets. Great communicators connect with people and a great resource for learning how to connect is “Everyone Communicates and Few Connect – John C. Maxwell”. I personally believe this is the best resource for learning how to communicate and connect with people. And of course I can always recommend my book, “Be Bodacious: Put Life in Your Leadership”, while you will not find it on the shelf with John C Maxwell books, you will find some good leadership principles packed away in the stories.
Avoid the corporate speak and over use of words… that are in the dictionary but rarely used by mortal men. Communicate with people like people, don’t leave them guessing which door you want them to pass through.
How About the Food?
And the food at the restaurant was great! I have never had grits and shrimp or bean soup that “would bring a tear to your eye”. And the steak must of come off a cow living a stress free life, doing nothing but laying around eating green grass all day. You just had to be careful not to injure yourself on the ultra sheik and oddly shaped plates. It was a great time with friends, with good food and some good laughs over the washroom “signs”.
If you like this blog read more from Steven D Wood in his new book.