That Collingwood Road Behaviour

Aarne

It was raining heavily and I could just see the black car’s white dull headlights behind me as I was travelling at 105 kilometres/hour along the M1 Motorway. He was tailgating me so closely that I easily observed the agitated, and rather nasty looking facial expression of the aggressive, toothless driver in between the fast swishing movement of his windscreen wipers. I tried to move out of his way, but couldn’t, owing to the heavy traffic congestion in the other lanes, so I just tolerated his unpleasantness for the next minute as he followed in my slipstream.

He flashed his lights, honked his horn and gave me a finger gesture that I presumed was not one of friendship. I just waved back at him, but I don’t think it was appreciated in a positive manner as he responded with additional fist waving and a sneer on his face that was well suited to the most passionate Collingwood* football club supporter.

Finally, he saw a tight opening in an adjacent lane and like a magpie swooped into it without any hesitation. Unfortunately for him, it was a tad too snug, particularly as it was bordered by two large trucks which were startled by his sudden movement that caused the front truck driver to slam on his brakes. My impatient “friend’s” car slammed into the back of the truck at full force leading to chaos for all concerned. Mayhem soon prevailed as the carnage was littered all over the road.

Yes, this is fiction, particularly as those you know me, as I would never travel at 105 kilometres/hour in the fast lane! But, let’s think about this driver’s behaviour from a business perspective.

How many employees in your corporate office follow the same methodology, or route of behaviour, in a stayed and undeviating manner every day? It’s just like that impatient “Collingwood driver” that follows so closely the car in front that they can’t see what obstacles are approaching due to their limited vision of the business journey ahead.

A good driver continually looks out for those frequently changing road conditions and adjusts their speed accordingly. If a major roadblock is identified, they could wait for it to be cleared, but instead they quickly and wisely manoeuvre around it to find a more strategic approach.

Why do most businesses tolerate the lemming employee that just blindly follows those in front of them without any question or thought? Why not encourage a variety of driver skills that can cope and excel in numerous business conditions? Some employees will need to be trained to cope with high speeds, others off road terrains, some the more conservative stop-start city driving, but all of them need to know how to recognise potential danger and the process for steering around it.

So next time you see a driver with that “Collingwood appearance” in your rear view mirror, just let them go past unhindered as they have no idea where they are going, and are regrettably only thinking a few metres in front of their nose (assuming they can see it)!

———

* Collingwood Football Club: http://www.collingwoodfc.com.au/

The Office Runner

Sherrin (201/365)

Equipped rather splendidly in my black sports shorts, bright fluorescent yellow T-shirt and spiffy football boots, I stand by the Australian Rules Football (AFL) coach awaiting my detailed instructions to personally deliver to the targeted players during the game. My esteemed and strategic role within the game is that of “Runner”. As the name suggests, I have the privileged position of being able to run out on to the football field during the game to motivate the players and to deliver words of encouragement and tactics that have a direct real-time influence on the outcome of the contest.

Besides demonstrating my extreme athletic prowess with which I sprint out to the players at top speed (however I must admit some less kind people have called me a “Meanderer”, rather than a “Runner”) to deliver the coaches instructions, I also need to have the skills of an actor and a mentor. Each instruction needs to be customised to meet the listening requirements of the various player recipients in order to achieve maximum receptivity and message understanding. Some players can accept a message that is bold and direct, other players need to be encouraged and wooed in order to fully absorb the details of the instructions, however some players just need a good verbal tirade of abuse.

The role of “Runner” in the corporate office got me thinking. Many businesses use a common form of communication that is designed to reach the largest number of employees as possible. This may be done via E-mails, Bulletins, Newsletters and other such mass distributions. The information take-up and understanding by the individual employee is in most cases rather poor, or rather confused. So why not have a number of cleverly trained Corporate Communication Runners (CCR) that frequent the office corridors?

The CCR would be dressed in a special corporate uniform. Many of you reading this blog post may be thinking runners, tracksuit pants and a T-shirt, but that’s a tad too boring for the CCR. Rather, I’m visualising the CCR dressed in a tight fitting bright body suit (pink, yellow or green) with the corporate logo branded on their back and a nice sounding bell attached to a belt hanging from their waist to announce their arrival as they leap through the office.

The CCR would be entrusted to take specific instructions from the CEO and then personally deliver them to the various key employees throughout the building to provide maximum message impact and acceptance.

However, there is an additional role for the CCR in that they would also convey messages, or employee mood back to the CEO so they fully understand the feeling within the organization.

Yes, these CCRs would be very busy! But the role of the CCR is a very important one within the corporate office, and one that I would suggest be considered somewhat more seriously than this blog post suggests?

Just a thought….