Beware the Silence

eery-1648250_640Tension builds as the last notes of creepy music echo in the silence.  On the screen, the picture freezes for that brief moment — and you know something bad is going to happen. Really, really bad…

In horror movies, especially before “blood and gore” special effects became the norm, directors knew how to build fear by leveraging our vivid imaginations.  Since we couldn’t see what was happening, our minds created content more frightening than any computer could generate.  What warning did we come to understand as the pipe organ music moaned in the background and dark shadows slowly took shape behind our heroine? Beware the silence.

In business, just as in classic Vincent Price black-and-white movies, silence is often the precursor to very bad things. As wise leaders, it pays to “listen” specifically for key areas of silence. Because, as so aptly stated by Raymond Carlyle, “Silence is more eloquent than words.”

Which silences are actually “screams” for your attention?

  1. Silent Phones. While electronic communication has its place, relationships are not built via email. Because only 7% of the effectiveness of communication is the words we choose (the remainder is tone of voice and facial expression), emailing and texting simply don’t cut it. When the phones stop ringing and conversations are few and far between, you may need to dig your business back out of the grave.
  2. Silent Quality Control. Not looking doesn’t make problems go away – it just makes them grow and mutate into even larger issues.  If you’re not conducting periodic quality reviews, rest assured that any challenges you have will eventually escalate into your own personal horror show.  Don’t allow unknown shadows to lurk in dark corners.
  3. Silent Feedback. Haven’t heard anything positive about your team or from your team?  This particular silence will strangle the life out of your business.  Since individuals are at least four times more likely to complain than compliment, no good news is not neutral. It’s actually a death knell.

In the midst of the noise of your daily responsibilities, take a moment and listen to what is not being said.  What warnings are you not hearing that you should be?  Don’t allow all your attention to flow solely to the incessant demands of the loud and obvious.  Instead, search for the true evil that may be quietly lurking.  Listen, and keep one step ahead of the villain in your business’ drama.  “Be Aware” of the Silence.

Leigh Ann Pagnard

Leigh Ann Pagnard
Leigh Ann Pagnard helps companies grow and increase their profitability. As founder and president of Crescendo, she currently serves as a strategic consultant to the staffing industry.

Leigh Ann Pagnard

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