Posts Tagged ‘signal’

Signals

16/June/2008

I know that some day I will learn; in the meantime, I will continue making this kind of mistakes and collecting stories to share with you…

I was driving in a street and, having to turn right next corner, I positioned myself on the righmost lane. Some meters before the crossing the car ahead of me stopped without a warning, the driver step out the car and started to help his children out of it, there, stopped in the middle of the street. He was there three or four minutes during which I haven’t had a chance to change lanes to follow my way. I ended up really pissed off.

It is probably not the best example of what we are teached about signalling, but I think it applies to the concept. We face everyday situations like that one. We want to do something and we depend on the action or inaction if someone else to be allowed to do our movement. In my “story of the day”, if only the driver just turned on the emergency lights announcing his intention to stop, I wouldn’t changed my lane and continued my way without a problem.

We use to apply the term “signalling” to strategic decisions about competition moves, but it can be used more widely. For example, when someone from our team wants to do something we know it will be of negative impact in someone else, but we decide to silently let him do it and later stop him in the middle of the move, we fail to signal him. You can’t stop in the air after jumping; if you didn’t wanted me jumping, signal me before starting. The sooner the better.

We do it everyday; a look to let him pass ahead of me into the elevator, an email to warn about the effect a delay in the project will have in the company’s results, or simply the distribution of a new edition of the Code of Ethics of the company, can be an effective signal for those who are looking for them. Off course, some people need bigger signals than others, so feedback is necessary to be sure everyone understood the warning.

Going further, the same idea applies to our people’s careers. We can signal our teams if they can grow in other areas or if they can’t grow anymore in the company, for example, or if they must change some attitude or get a new skill to continue working with us; they can take a different decision path if only know that someone or something ahead will stop them.

From very small and almost insignificant situations, to very important ones, even to the point that it can change the life of someone, we are responsible if we could signal the other part and we fail to do it. Battles and wars have been won without human losses, just with the right amount of signals. And it is also our responsibility to understand the signals from the other parts. It is useless, or even harmful to ourselves, to ignore them.

I must stop writing right now. I think some is trying to yell me something, but I can not hearing him because the fire alarm is too loud.

Regards,

Diego :D

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