Throughout my career, I have always asked my team members to over-communicate.  My intentions have been to ensure that the whole team would always be on the same page.  It is always better to have more information than not enough to address problems or opportunities within our company.  Over the years, this has worked well.  But lately, it seems like over-communicating is done by adding more names to emails, creating larger text groups, and basically becoming conversations that are one-way in nature.

These types of communication efforts will become a burden by filling “In” boxes and alerting us to non-critical texts.  Subsequently, recipients will tend to delete the emails and texts before reading them and not listen to voice mails.  One-way communication has merit but sometimes it becomes overwhelming and counterproductive.

The best form of communication is having an in-person dialogue.  Webster defines dialogue as “a conversation between two or more persons, an exchange of ideas and opinions, a discussion between representatives of parties that is aimed at some type of resolution”.  Whatever happened to having dialogue in our society, workplace, and even our families?  Look around the next time you are in a restaurant and watch couples who once would look each other in the eye and talk to each other about the day’s events, life challenges, and their plans for the future.  Now, they have their heads down looking at their cell phone as “Rosary Beads”.

What happened to our dialogue between spouses, families, friends, co-workers, and yes, even between those that we totally disagree with?  We now spend too much time talking “to” someone rather than talking “with” them via a dialogue, a two-way conversation.

Recently my 17-year-old daughter sat down, and we had a dialogue.  I proposed to use an age-old process that has been used to help organizations evaluate themselves and lay out strategic plans for their company’s future.  When I told her I wanted to do a SWOT analysis with her, she looked at me like I had three heads.  If by chance you have not taken part in a SWOT analysis, it basically covers four key areas that a person or organization has.

S = Strengths

W = Weaknesses

O = Opportunities

T = Threats

It was amazing how the time flew by as we sat on our back porch and talked about her future.  As a loving father, it was great to compliment her on her attributes and help her recognize all the opportunities that are before her.  We also had a frank conversation about her weaknesses and how worldly threats will be coming at her in so many ways.  It was a great time for her to start getting serious about her future with the knowledge that she has her dad’s blessing and support.

Conducting a SWOT analysis is an age-old process that can be applied to any organization or individual.  I enjoy applying this process as a part of the search process for our clients and candidates.  As we discuss the four key areas, it has been amazing how enlightening it has been.  In some cases, what was thought was needed in the way of a new team member turned out to be completely different based on a frank assessment of the company and its overall needs.  In the same way, candidates who may have never thought they would be a fit for a certain career path have discovered a whole new world of opportunities.

In either case, having conversations or dialogue is the key to the success of any relationship, whether it is between a dad and his daughter, team members, suppliers and customers, or a professional recruiting partner and their clients and candidates.  Relationships are the only thing we will take from this world, so let us be intentional about developing them by using the age-old technique of actually talking with each other.  I challenge all of us to occasionally, instead of emailing or texting our loved ones, friends, customers, suppliers, or colleagues, pick up the phone and call them or even better yet have a face-to-face get-together with them (without your cell phone!).  Invest in each other the most precious of all commodities, time.

Give us a call at AGRI-SEARCH; we would love to have the opportunity to serve you by spending some time developing a relationship.  Call us at our main office number at 217-543-2505 or on my direct phone at 217-543-5202.  If I don’t answer, I may be having a dialogue with my teenage daughter or wife.  I will call you back.  All the best to you and yours.