Thursday, October 4, 2012

Staying on the Same Page

          Communication is SO important – whether it is the working place, or homes, our churches, our communities . . . and it’s important that we all stay on the same page.  We need consistency. 

          I recall one work place that made egg salad sandwiches.  Some of the workers would put pickles into the mixture, while others refused because they thought it was gross.  I don’t care if the egg salad has pickles or not.  When I am in a working environment I would expect to make the egg salad according to what the customer orders from the menu and expects – not to my own personal preference.  I think when a customer expects a certain product, he or she should receive the same product or courtesy or satisfaction that kept him or her coming back to begin with.

          I know different cooks have their own personalities and styles.  I am a wimp when it comes to anything remotely spicy – and so I have learned (well – back when I was single and had money) to ask which chef is in the kitchen before I place my order for there was one who would use every spice in the kitchen I believe and lots of it, while the other probably was not a favorite among those who really do enjoy authentic Mexican food.  It needs to be consistent.  The recipe must be followed exactly the same in my opinion.

          Food is just a very small issue of what needs to be communicated.  I hate being told one thing by one employee or parent or teacher or representative or what have you and being told something completely different by somebody else.  Opinions are often brought in by individuals who pass on their opinions that others accept as gospel truth – even when it’s not.

          I recall failing a class that I had tried to transfer into.  I was livid when I received a failing grade.  Why couldn’t have anybody said anything to me before hand?  I was on the roles already.  On the school record – but they failed to give it to me on the schedule that was handed out.  You think the teacher would have recognized the name from her rolls when I tried to transfer in.  It did not fly well.  I don’t recall there being any problems in my scheduling after that incident.

          I do have a have a similar situation story to share – only it didn’t happen to me personally.  Just someone I knew. It took place in the MTC (missionary training center) nearly 30 years ago (though I’m sure the same still occurs even now – perhaps not weekly, but maybe once in a while) I’m not including his first name in the story, but the last name is real.

          Elder Lovett had arrived on September 6 because that’s what it said on his papers – only those receiving the missionaries that day were actually not expecting Elder Lovett until the following week.  Fortunately he had his letter and showed them that it was indeed the date he’d been assigned to report.  But because there was an error in communication on whatever part, Elder Lovett hadn’t been assigned a companion (partner) or room or books or what have you.

          Six elders had been assigned to our district.  Four had been assigned to one room designed for four people.  The other two elders were also in a room designed for four – but one side remained empty.  So Elder Lovett was assigned to partner up with the latter two.  Six Elders would be serving in Fresno, California.  Elder Lovett was assigned to West Virginia.

          He shared these events with us during our third class (I think) when once more the instructor would say: “Turn to page H5” (for example) and all of us would turn to the assigned page – including Elder Lovett – but he would never be able to follow along.  I think it must have been during that third class the instructor suggested a page that just didn’t exist among the pages that Elder Lovett’s had in his possession.

          “It’s just my book.  They must have gone to the warehouse and retrieved this off some old dusty shelf.  This is out of date.”  I know for a fact that we have been asked to discard old material as it is updated.  Apparently the books that Elder Lovett had been given weren’t as discarded as they should have been.

          Perhaps his situation prepared him to be a stronger leader.  He definitely understood the importance of communication.  Elder Lovett had his first opportunity as district leader serving with us in the MTC.  He was great – throughout his entire mission I would imagine.  I actually never saw him or heard from him again after leaving the MTC. 

          There is the miscommunication between family members.  Just before Tony got married, I had called Roland’s family to inform them about when the event was scheduled to take place and what might be involved for those waiting outside the temple. 

          I was experiencing problems with my cell phone and had made some remark about my frustration.  Unbeknownst to me, the family had me on speaker phone – and whatever snide remark I made (in regards to my cell phone) somehow was interpreted to mean that I did not want them (mom in particular) to come . . . and whatever it was that I said got blown out of proportion as family members related the events to other family members until I realized that Roland’s brother was slamming him on facebook; his brother was not even a part of the initial family I was calling. 

I noticed one of Roland’s sisters had also been misinformed about the events that would take place when their oldest sister died.  Why not just listen and repeat before we jump the gun on something that was just not communicated correctly?
I am grateful to those who do take the time to at least try.  However their attempts to assist are not always profitable when the communication among the employees to employees are even worse than employee to customer. (as I have mentioned in this earlier post

Roland is great at having people and communication skills – problem is not all of those he attempts to communicate with possess the same talent.  And that is sad. It’s sad that so many have become and accept ignorance.  Ignorance is NOT professional.

And machines that talk to you instead of a human being?  Oh, don’t even get me started.  Talk about impersonal – and yet it seems that so many business have picked up on it and wreak havoc on the consumer’s life even more. 
Bless the company that gives you a live human being to begin with. Especially when that human is able to communiacate!

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