When is the right time to hear something for the first time?
Posted: March 24th, 2016Author: All4 Staff
As an entrepreneurial company that is committed to Growth, CHANGE is what you sign up for when you join ALL4. Our ability to rapidly identify and implement change, based on both internal and external market forces, has supported our growth and enabled us to be ranked in the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies for eight consecutive years. This commitment to growth, and ability to change, means that new ideas, processes, systems, and decisions are constantly being made or created.
One of the distinctions associated with change is “When is the right time to hear something for the first time?” When we started ALL4, we often heard things for the first time while the entire company was sitting around the lunch room table or during the weekly leadership team meetings. Now I find myself learning about some ALL4 happenings when they are well beyond the initial formulation stage and sometimes long after they have been implemented! [Full disclosure… my initial reaction to some of these scenarios was “How the %^&* was this going on without me even knowing about it?!?”] If I was feeling this way, how was everyone else feeling when I am introducing our ALL4 2020 Business Plan or identifying the next market sectors that we intend to penetrate or even where our next office location will be as we outgrow the ALL4 Barn? (Note to the ALL4 team in Kimberton – I hear you… we will have some additional information soon – I promise! 🙂
I highlight this because I think everyone experiences similar reactions to hearing something for the first time. Personally, I am working hard to choose how I react in these moments. I find myself completely inspired (and reaching for a tissue…) by the reaction of people that actually HEAR for the first time. Check out this link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsOo3jzkhYA) for one of my favorite!!
Hearing something for the first time could evoke negative reactions such as anger, doubt, fear, confusion, or upset. When is the right time? I’m not sure there is one answer here as I would say that a big part of timing is dependent on the role of the person hearing the news for the first time. As the person delivering the message, consider the audience – help them understand “the why?” behind the message, and certainly consider the key question of “Am I trying to enroll this person in the decision-making process or inform them of a decision?” Sometimes, in hindsight, you may find that there were person(s) impacted in such a way that they SHOULD have heard the message earlier – at ALL4, I chalk that up to some of the communication challenges that are associated with rapid growth (and multiple offices) as the communication that once occurred around the Keurig Machine can be difficult to replicate. If you determine that these person(s) should have been involved in the decision-making process, then consider “Do I owe them an apology and/or explanation?”
What I have learned about myself is that when a group of people are aligned and committed to the success of the company and to the success of each other and I hear something for the first time from one of them – I pause and recall the reaction of Sarah Churman from the video… and then I choose to recognize the promise, joy, anticipation, and opportunity for future associated with each message!