Most people take other people at their word. In business a person’s word is critical to the interactive processes required to reach a result. If a supplier or employee does not fulfill their word or stated obligation things can be delayed and delayed actions set off a chain reaction of delays, defects and disappointments internally and externally.
Is Follow Through on Our Word an Obligation?
An obligation is a requirement to take some course of action. There are obligations in normative contexts, such as obligations of etiquette, social obligations, and possibly politics, obligations are requirements that are to be fulfilled. Generally speaking people are obliged to carry out certain actions for other reasons as well, which can be due to tradition or social reasons as well as business terms and conditions. In business certain etiquettes both spoken and written as well as unspoken and unwritten are the expected rules of engagement.
Etiquette is a code that governs the expectations of social behavior, according to the contemporary conventional norm within a business society, social class, or group. Usually unwritten, it may be codified in written form. Etiquette usually reflects formulas of conduct in which business, society or tradition have invested. .
Deborah Schultz writes: I have been thinking a lot lately about the impact the 24/7 social web connectedness has on how we connect and behave in personal and professional settings and the impact it is having on our relationships:
“In an era of increased inputs, ambient intimacy** and weak ties, it is now difficult to remember, react and respond to everything and everyone in a timely manner. Are we rude or do we need to reset our expectations of what is proper etiquette in the era of the Social Web?”
- Is it really ok to not return phone calls? or email? Is there a window when rude sets in?
- Is it rude to not respond to a direct Twitter?
- Is everyone SO busy with outbound expression that no one is there to “catch the proverbial conversation toss?”
- If you know that people are overwhelmed – how do you know when you are being ignored proactively or when are you simply lost in the “inbox”? When do you PING LOUDER so you get attention and when are you ignoring the signs that you are indeed being purposefully ignored?
In recent conversation’s with a social technology provider I was engaged with multiple divisions and represented parties. The dialog was centric to how they could improve their organizations profile and subsequent growth. In each of the separate conversations with leaders of different divisions (silos) the parties agreed they needed to do the things we were suggesting and was interested in our assistance. Each of the separate conversations with different executives ended with: “Right now we’re pretty covered up with the acquisition of company A or we’re just finishing ABC project or we need to get this scheduled. In each case the parties said “we’ll get back to you within two weeks”.
Two, three and four weeks go by and no follow up. Emails are sent attempting to re-engage the previous conversations and in each case the response is “Thank you for the additional information and yes we need to re-engage our previous dialog“. However they don’t say when and it appears as though one of the following could be true:
- They never intended to engage and avoidance is the politically correct thing to do
- They are totally distracted with the urgency of the moment and disconnected from obligations made
- Their attention spans are fragmented moment by moment and never connected to achieving improvements
In personal and business relations fulfilling obligations and following proper etiquette are the bases for developing stronger relations. The social web magnifies behavior and creates transparency to unfulfilled expectations. And companies wonder why they have customer service problems or why they can’t make the desired progress. Do they think the market of conversations won’t openly discuss their behavior
Go figure. What say you?