Post from: MAPpingCompanySuccess
A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here
In the right frame of MAPping Company Success it says, “Have a quick question or just want to chat?” along with both email and phone number.
A few weeks ago a “John,” a founder, called me to see if I had any idea why his turnover was so high.
In response to my questions he described his company’s culture, management style, product, etc.
I told him that assuming what he said was what was actually happening then something else was going on.
Since we are several thousand miles apart, we came up with the idea of using a stationary camcorder to tape the interactions; a “set it and forget it” approach to capture the norm and not performances.
A few days later he sent me a link to see the results.
I choked at the length, but it didn’t take that long to find what the likely problem was.
To see if my instinct was correct, I watched the entire nine hours on fast forward.
What I saw was that, almost without exception, during every interaction John had, whether with programmers or senior staff, he interrupted them to take calls or respond to texts.
We discussed the ramifications and effects of the constant interruptions and I asked him how he would feel if they had acted the same way.
He said it had happened to him and he usually felt annoyed, offended or both.
So I asked why they would feel any different.
John said that also explained why one senior developer said he preferred to work where he was shown some respect.
John had chalked it up to the developer’s age and that he couldn’t handle the casual atmosphere, but thinking back the guy had had a good relationship and no problems with the team.
I suggested that instead of saying anything he just change, i.e., pay attention and not interrupt, since actions speak louder than words.
I also sent him this image as a constant reminder.
John went further than changing; he called the most recent three who had left, apologized and said he would like them to come back.
One had already accepted a job, but the other two decided to give it another shot.
They both said that his candidness, honesty in recognizing the problem and sincere apology made it likely he would follow through.