Making Mistakes

We have decided to try working using a hybrid setup where we ask people to come in to the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays and they can work from home on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Author’s Note: This entry was written June 3, 2022 – I usually write ahead and schedule my posts for publishing days or months in advance.

So far, so good. So many companies that allowed for full remote work has transitioned into a hybrid work environment to ease in their employees to going back to work. Ultimately, we are still seeing where this is going and whether we are going to go back to a full 5-day working environment.

Personally, I think it is costlier to work through a hybrid work environment because of all the necessary adjustments that we need to adapt to. Then there’s the office not being fully utilized if less people are there – and yet the same amount of electricity is being used up. It’s not a do-or-die thing but I’m not used to wasting money on inefficiencies as expenses.

The plan is to transition to a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday working environment by July so we sent a memo out this June trying to say that we’ll try Wednesday out as a new office day. But to ease things up, we’ll make it optional with one caveat – just let us know if you can make it or not so that we know which office to use. If there’s less people, we’ll go for the smaller office and if there’s more people, we’ll go for the bigger office.

So We Sent a Memo to the Team

I personally did not write or read the memo before it was sent out but the message was simple and clear – or so I thought.

The thing about memos is that there could potentially be so many different questions and perspectives that can arise – especially from people who either:

  1. Think of themselves first over the good of others or the whole.
  2. Do not have faith/trust/belief in the leader/s who drafted and sent out the memo/s.

You see, if people trust their leader/s and know that changes and memos are made with the best intentions for the best of the company/whole organization then they will be able to move forward with the change. Perhaps there are questions in their heads but for sure they will bring it up to their leader/s because they trust their leader/s.

And if they think of others ahead or above their own self – then they will be able to see any new change or memo as something that will benefit everyone in the team. It might be uncomfortable for a handful few individuals – but ultimately, it will benefit the entire organization.

Another thing about memos is that often they are sent out because they NEED to be sent out. So more often than not, they are not perfect. In fact, I think 99% of memos are not perfect and if there is someone that does not believe the leader/s have the best intentions of the team at heart, I think that any memo would be taken from a negative perspective.

Timeliness of a memo being sent out is more important than the perfection of the memo itself. Because however way you want to perfect a memo, I think that there will be angles that you will fail to cover and still need to discuss and clarify with people who have the integrity and honor to bring those questions to the right leader/s.

But that’s ok because what’s more important is you send the memo out at the right time – writing it the best way you can, in the spirit of having a positive outcome. In fact, one of our core values is Experimentation which allows for mistakes and embraces mistakes as being part of progress. This core value states:

“I believe that it is important to try and create new, unknown things in the spirit of having a positive outcome. Whether I succeed or not is not as important as learning something new.”

At any rate, all memos are written and sent out with the intention of communicating a positive change to the rest of the team. With that in mind, only people who do not believe this good intention will react negatively towards it rather than try to clarify it with the people who wrote it.

A Big ‘NO’ to Gossip

Gossip the Crab

In SEO Hacker, we also have Unity as one of our core values. The core value states:

“Thinking, feeling and acting as one with the management to better serve our clients is extremely important.

To radically fight against people and forces that will try to inject, gossip, poor communication, unresolved conflict, and sanctioned incompetence in the team is critical.”

This means that we hand negatives up and we hand positives down or laterally.

Negatives can be anything related to questions on policies, complaints, major or minor changes that people believe or feel need to be made about the way things work in the organization, and so on.

These need to be handed up to management or leadership because it will not benefit anyone if we hand it down or laterally – in which case it will take the form of gossip.

You see, gossip is one of the most evil spirits that Satan ever let loose in our world today. It is sharing a negative with someone who is not part of the solution. Something so simple and insidious but can have big consequences long-term.

There are two people responsible for a single piece of gossip to take place. The initiator and the receiver.

Ever heard the saying ‘it takes two to tango’?

You see, if the receiver will tell the initiator:

“Hey I know you have qualms and questions about this memo (or whatever issue it may be) but I’m not part of the solution and I can’t really help you change and improve things there. Why not bring it up to our leaders who wants to hear this and who can actually improve on your thoughts?”

If this was the case, then there will be no gossip.

What I noticed being a CEO of 12 years is that less tenured people would often go to more tenured people to try and get some consensus about their concern or question or issue or problem. The tenured person may or may not be part of the leadership (usually they are not) and so they would receive the gossip and then express their opinions as well. If the tenured person is not really loyal to the leadership of the organization (yes they can be tenured but disloyal – no surprise there) then they will make the issue or concern even worse – and they would also make the initiator feel like their concern holds more weight than it really does.

Gossip tends to highlight the mistake rather than the ultimate goal and greater good.

Very few business owners are leaders. That’s a fact.

  • Few business owners sacrifice for their people – taking pay cuts so they can pay their people on time and pay them well. 
  • Few business owners take home less so that their people can have more in terms of pay, perks and benefits.
  • Few business owners help their people by coming in a negotiation when things are going south with a client or a supplier or partner.

So here’s a question for you: If you work for a business owner who ACTUALLY IS a leader who sacrifices for his/her people, then is there a good reason for you to doubt them when a memo is sent on their behalf that may not be 100% polished?

This is why trust in teams is so important. If you lose trust with your people, you lose faith. At the same time if your people lose your trust, you are less forgiving when they make mistakes or miss deadlines. 

But there are just some people that have so little faith to give you that whatever you do, they will just have a negative perspective about your work, communication and organizational changes. You have to correct them by talking with them one-on-one or send them a notice to explain, you have to pray for them, or as a last resort, you have to part ways with them.

Mistakes are inevitable. Failure is a part of success – they go hand-in-hand. If this is the case and there is little trust and faith, then gossip is inevitable. However if there is trust and people have faith in the leadership and vice versa, then people in the organization will be more forgiving of each other and know that each individual has the best intentions at heart for the whole.

This makes for a wonderful environment to work in.

SEO Hacker may not be there yet 100% on the faith and trust part (I argue so are all other companies out there) but we have always been quite close.

Sean Si

About Sean

is a motivational speaker and is the head honcho and editor-in-chief of SEO Hacker. He does SEO Services for companies in the Philippines and Abroad. Connect with him at Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Check out his new project, Aquascape Philippines

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