Signal Sent and Received!


Signal Sent and Received!


Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about motivation and inspiration and how, as I grow as a leader and as our company grows, effective signaling has come into focus. You see, the days of reaching out and touching teammates, customers and prospects has grown more complicated than ever. Therefore, much of what we do requires effective signaling vs. simply communicating.


Signaling, to me, is much more nuanced than communicating, because it involves taking stock in all the ways a company puts into action the words they are saying. When we say something is important, do we back it up with actions that signal we believe what we say? Or even more importantly, do those to whom we communicate receive our message and our signals and see alignment?


That’s where it gets tricky, because many times, the receiver is not going to tell you your message and actions are aligned. They might respond negatively instead. 


When I think about a signal sent and a signal received, I think immediately about our obsession with making every individual in our company feel the importance of their jobs and how the work they do every day aligns with our goals as a company. Of course, we do all we can to ensure the wage they earn is competitive, however, leaders know, pay is only one input to a satisfied employee.


The magic happens, in my experience, when leaders demonstrate with their actions how important each job is by getting in the trenches and working shoulder-to-shoulder with teammates at all levels.


Frankly, it’s one of the things that I truly love about parking. I have not met a parking leader yet who runs from the hard part about the job that is parking cars. Every day I see managers in the trenches with their frontline teammates, doing the hard work behind the scenes to make each parking customer’s experience uneventful and frictionless. 


The signal they are sending their people is that they are not above rolling up their sleeves and getting dirt under their fingernails to get the job done, because those cars are coming, whether they are ready or not. Our teammates signal their approval by showing up every day and working the long hours with us to ensure every car is parked and exited for the day.


Those parking customers signal their approval by returning to the same facility, to park because they know the experience will be positive. And when customers don’t return, we know something has gone awry. That’s when the real work begins. 


Was the fall-off an anomaly or are we messing up something? Is there a disconnect in the signal we’re sending, and the signal being received? Sometimes, it’s as simple as going back to basics. Rolling up your sleeves once again and feeling what your customers or employees are feeling as they execute their jobs. 


They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and there’s no better picture than seeing the experience up close and personal. If there is a disconnect between signal sent and signal received, it’s our job as leaders to go all the way to the frontlines to observe and show the importance of that job with our presence. 


To wrap up, I’ll share the rest of the story of why signals came to be so important to me. Recently, it was brought to my attention that I was not practicing what I’ve preached in the lines above. I was strongly encouraged by a fellow leader to get back into the trenches of the work an increasing number of our teammates are doing. So, I got into the call queue last week for the first time in a long time. The action was powerful on innumerable fronts.


The enthusiasm from my colleagues was inspiring. The appreciation I (re)gained for the challenge of their job was immeasurable. And the ability to lay hands on the software we’ve invested meaningful dollars in was far more valuable than a month of weekly briefs on its progress. 


The signal I sent was that every job here is important enough to help, and the signal received was one of enthusiastic support, and dare I say, inspiration. The truth is, my calls were not good, and I want to apologize to the poor souls who endured them. But I got through them, and no customer was harmed in the process of my education! 


The simple action of getting into the trenches was far more powerful than any “corner office” update of praise. I was reminded of this last week, and I hope my experience can help you send your own version of a powerful signal, and that is received with just as much positive feedback!

Article contributed by:
Brian Wolff, Parker Technology
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