Sunday, March 08, 2009

Communications Failure

No, there's nothing wrong with the radio, and the headset hasn't undergone a final disintegration. It's my mouth. I can't seem to get communications right with this customer. I try to be really communicative, because that's one of my strengths. I can express myself, explain things, recognize information that will help people make decisions, and share it in a way that is relevant and understandable to them. I've never fallen prey to the desire for power through withholding information. Yay for me! But I keep telling these customers things that make them angry.

For example, I received a text from my company about our planned maintenance schedule. I called the customer to get his approval on that plan, and while there was nothing wrong with the plan, and we were willing to change it if there was, the customer was unhappy. I believe he felt ambushed because a mere pilot knew before he did. I should have waited until my boss told his boss and his boss told him, so he'd know in a day or so, instead of my getting the information to him as soon as possible.

It just seems wrong to me to have information that someone needs and wants, and that is intended for him anyway, but to be obliged to withhold it until it arrives through the proper channels.

It's not all cruising along above the mountains, joking with ATC and recalculating my fuel reserves.


K1MGY said...

Ugh! Politics.

Best policy I've found is to (a) not take it on; (b) push back when it gets abusive; (c) phrase news such that the customer/partner/boss feels as if he/she/it is in total control.

Anonymous said...

Possibly someone had a bad day on the stock market? Would have been pissed at anyone for anything and along you came with some news....? Not your problem.

Machinery is so much simpler than peeps.

dpierce said...

We have a couple of customers we don't communicate with well, despite a list of "but we're good communicators" caveats similar to yours.

For one of these, I actually had to draft an e-mail that explained how it's "our policy to communicate events in plain, direct language, as soon as we have relevant information to communicate, to as many people as we feel are entitled to the information and may benefit from it." I've had to re-send it twice.

(I hate it when things get to that.)

Anonymous said...

Some people want to make you spit...
His loss...indeed.

Aviatrix said...

They're good folks, and I'll keep working on saying and doing things the way they want them. I appreciate the confirmation that this is a common form of misunderstanding.

Anonymous said...

Boy does that sound familiar. I have the same problem with my new boss. Whatever I do, say or don't say or do seems to make him mad.

While you are out at Majors or Longview (if you drove really fast East 3 hrs from DFW you could even be in Alexandria LA), be sure and get some fried alligator, a local delicacy!

Lord Hutton said...

Sometimes it takes time to persuade the "boss" class that you can be trusted. I am having a similar experience with mine.
Oh, and a book for you: Absolute Altitude, by Martin Buckley (He even mentions Katherine Wright (the sister) but only in passing