Why are you CALLING ME?

Updated: Sep 9

"Soft’ skills will be 10X more important in a virtual/work-at-home world. Team dynamics, individual growth, team creativity will dominate effectiveness.”

--Business Guru Tom Peters


Almost a decade ago, I was a brand-new consultant at a Fortune 500 company, working on communicating the need for awareness in the cybersecurity realm. As I started working on an internal marketing campaign, I called the company’s videographer to ask a few questions about how I go about using his services.


I could tell from the get-go, he didn’t want to talk to me and was sorry he answered the phone.


After a he reluctantly answered a few questions, he barked at me: “Why are you calling me? Why couldn’t you just put this in an email?!”


Confused, I replied, “I’m new here and I’m trying to make connections and meet people that I am going to be working with.”


Silence.


I thought of him during the pandemic and wondered how he coped in that virtual world with his – ‘I don’t want to talk on the phone mentality.’


We all now understand that different types of soft skills are needed as meetings and conversations happen virtually. And yet in the manufacturing and tech world, these skills are often seen as “touchy-feely.” And then those companies can’t figure out why they can’t find and retain talent.


The president of a local manufacturing firm told me recently, that he is now hiring people for their personalities and training them for the job skills they need in in factory. That could be tricky as well, as you do want different voices in the room, and it risks issues around diversity. But he got tired of the inability for team members – including a former partner – to communicate and realized he wasn’t going to be able to keep the talent he recruited unless he went this route.


Working on these “soft skills” is a constant. Both individually and as a team. So how are you doing? How about your team?

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