Communication + Relationship + Opportunities = Success


Communication is the core of all relationships. The speed and velocity of change in communication and communication technology since the beginning of the millennium has been breathtaking. The term “revolution” often feels like an understatement. We are now continuously bombarded with text messages, emails, tweets, and voice mails ad infinitum.

While the methodology of communication has improved, I feel the effectiveness of communication has not changed as much. Perhaps it has not improved at all. I see emails sent with a response never given, phone calls made and never returned, and worse—endless, mindless tweets and texts, distracting both sender and receiver.

Unfortunately, the progress made in communication technology seems to have made the art of communication less thoughtful and more adversarial. Dialog, instead of being a two-way discussion, has become a diatribe wrapped in a monologue. This dilemma occurs with many companies, government agencies and even among colleagues, and it weakens relationships.

Therefore, here is my request for 2013—or if you prefer, a challenge for all of us franchisees, SEI folks and our vendor partners: Let us develop communication etiquette. There is nothing more frustrating when an email, text, voice mail or another form of communication goes unanswered or ignored. I see communication as a core ingredient to build, develop and enhance any relationship, personal or business. Just as in any relationship, we have needs, which are:

• Clear communication with details
• Listening intently
• Following up on a request
• Returning phone calls

When I receive a request or question, I may not have an answer immediately, but I will always reply that I will get back to them once I do. I personally feel that if I do not respond to a request, I am showing total disrespect for the relationship. A response is not answering their request, it is just an acknowledgment that your are working on getting them the information they need.

All of this can be bundled under the Servant Leadership model. While some still question the effectiveness of Servant Leadership, I can personally attest that if implemented enthusiastically and honestly, the results are amazing and real—it works! There are some folks in our system that still talk the talk about Servant Leadership, yet have not fully embraced it or begun to walk the walk!

In this New Year if each franchisee, vendor partner and SEI employee resolves to treat each communication we receive as vitally as we welcome a customer coming into our stores, then we will all prosper 2013. “In order for change to take place, first I must change.” I would love to hear your thoughts.