I am a person that wants to discuss issues. I will tackle difficult circumstances and am not easily frightened by doing something uncomfortable so I wonder is it just me or have people become less able to cope with difficulty?
In my current line of work, I need to speak to lots of people. I say ‘speak’ figuratively really, because I rarely get to ‘speak’ to any of them, instead I end up speaking to their voice mails. I can ring ten people a day and be lucky to actually speak to one of them. Then there is the ring back. Most people just don’t ring back and yes I understand that it might be because they don’t want what I am selling, or they don’t have time at that moment, or they have other priorities, but the no ring back is at epic proportions now, even when they wanted me to do something for them! I really think that it is because people just don’t know how to handle bad news or any sort of potential difficulty so instead of saying, ‘no sorry, just not interested’, they say…Nothing.
I know a person, who in the early stages of meeting me was so full on and keen to ‘help’ me, they were so fired up and motivated. That enthusiasm eventually waned and then they didn’t return calls or emails for some months. Yes, yes this could be because I am not good to work with. Finally when they did get back to me because I needed confirmation from them that they wanted to be part of the conference I am organising, I did hear from them within a day. Maybe they thought that they were going to miss out on something that they wanted, maybe it was something else I don’t know. They put the non communication down to ‘personal issues’. Sadly this seems to the a theme at the moment where people have ‘personal issues’ that are preventing them from doing their job or at least communicating with the people that they need to communicate with. I think it is on the rise, and potentially it has something to do with the rise of in depression and bipolar. Maybe its just me, maybe I’m too demanding (as the song goes), or maybe its just how things are and people just don’t respect others in the way that they used to. Maybe technology has allowed us to be just so much better at non communication because we are so busy looking down at our phones and computers that we just don’t know how to connect to other people anymore. Either way, this non communication stuff can be time consuming for those of us that do communicate. What sort of society have we created where people can’t get back to you, have personal issues and are basically so busy that they can’t possibly be performing at their peaks?
I really wonder, if all these people are ‘so busy’, and ‘too busy to call’, are we running a real risk of degrading organisational performance by pushing people too hard. Are the rounds of cutbacks and rationalisations now detrimental to the point that we have our valuable human resources just shutting down for what ever reason? Maybe this is why people go into ‘non communication’ mode – simply because they just can’t cope.