Friday, September 16, 2011

The Voicemail

The dreaded voicemail....not the messages that stack up when you are in meetings, but the voicemail greeting.
Little story - maybe it's about leadership, maybe not...but it is certainly a 'Not to Do'.

Trying to resolve an issue with a certain institution, my friend called their contact and got the dreaded voicemail greeting that said "I am away from September 2nd to September 12th.  Do not leave a voicemail for me. But if this is an emergency, leave a voicemail and someone will pick it up while I am away."

Does this make any sense?  Don't leave the voicemail, but go ahead if it is an emergency?  Someone?  Who?  Someone qualified to deal with the issue?  How about providing a name and contact number for that 'someone'?  You would have to be certain that this institution, with its multiple layers of middle management would have a policy that there needs to be a back up in place for all vacationers.

So, yes, this is about leadership.  Think about the way we communicate our vision, discuss our strategies and plan the future with our teams.  Are we vague? Do we provide mixed messages?  Do we have a back up plan when  we need one?  Have we considered how the other end will receive the message?

Next time you go on vacation leave a very clear voicemail (and don't even get me started on out-of-office replies on email that still have vacation dates from 3 years ago!).  Take a few minutes to pay attention to that detail - and apply the same attention to the rest of your messaging.

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