Just to make sure I clear the air right from the start, I’m not on Family Feud and the title is not my response to “Dumbest Breakup Lines Ever” – although I’m pretty sure it would be in the top spot! What I am referring to is something we need to think about as we prepare for one of those tough, or candid, conversations we’ve been looking at over the last few months here… Before I tie it back to how this applies to our interaction with friends or family, I want to share a work story from a decade or so ago that should provide some solid perspective.
I worked for a large local manufacturing company for close to 20 years. The last few years I was there, I had responsibility for interviewing and hiring to fill all open positions throughout the production and distribution processes. I won’t go into some of the management changes that led to it, but I ended up hiring 225 people in my final 18 months with the organization. Around 150 of those were for one specific job title, requiring a very specialized skill. Oh, and that just happened to be the total number of those positions on our entire roster. Saying turnover was high may be the understatement of the century!
In far too many cases, the folks hired into this role never made it past their 90 day review due to not meeting productivity expectations. After filling the same spots over and over and over again, I had a fairly intense conversation with a few members of the management team. I just couldn’t believe that so many people were that ill-equipped to get up to speed in after three full months of training. Something had clearly changed in our processes but no one on the management team seemed willing to accept the fact that the issue was quite likely ours, not an issue with all the folks we had churned through our meat grinder in the year or so leading up to that.
I could go into so much more detail about why that became such a mess, and I actually do in a leadership course we’ve developed on Recruitment, Retention, & Culture that we provide for organizations across the country; that experience makes for a great case study in what NOT to do! For our purposes here though, I’ll challenge you to consider that same idea as you prepare for a tough conversation: Are you sure the issue is really theirs and not yours? Even if the bulk of the responsibility for the issue you’re addressing does fall on the friend or family member you need to speak with, are there things you can take responsibility for changing to help move beyond the issue? Is there a better way to achieve the desired result moving forward?
If we’re willing to do everything in our power to work through an issue, I’m willing to bet our friend or family member will appreciate our efforts and be far more open to working through the issue with us. But there may be one thing that still gets in our way of having that conversation so that’s where will pick up next time!