Before you read on. If you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about regarding the NY Giants and Eli Manning, click here for a quick recap.
Remember the telephone game we played in grade school? That’s a life lesson in communication, not just some childish and fun game. Clearly, the New York Football Giants forgot what a profound learning experience that was.
First off, I’m a huge NY Giants fan. I was definitely one of the disheartened when this all went down. I know there are many that didn’t understand the outcry but, there was good reason for it.
In almost any company or organization, there’s a chain of command. I respect the fact that the hierarchy exists and there’s obviously a science behind it. Breaking the chain of command, in many cases, can be catastrophic. Trust and loyalty can be lost by it being broken going down the organizational pyramid, and insubordination by breaking it going upward. There may be hard and fast organizational or personal rules that the chain is never to be broken, no matter what. I don’t believe that should always be the case.
Let’s get back to the telephone game for a bit. The one who starts the message through the “phone” makes what they believe is a clear statement. As the message gets passed throughout those along the “phone line,” it starts to skew. Many factors such as clarity of the message conveyed, the interpretation or one of the players of the game inserting their own personal feelings. All of these seem to have contributed to the befuddled mess that ensued within the NY Giants organization.
So, the chain of command. Think of your own company. Whether you own the company, are in the management level or the employee level, we can all learn from their mistakes. In this case, the President/CEO/Co-Owner conveyed a message to the next in command down the chain, the General Manager and head of personnel. That message then went to the head coach and on to the player who in this case is a team captain and leader. The message then is conveyed to the rest of the team and to the fans via the national and international media.
In a typical company this would be the Owner/CEO passing a message to senior management, then onto lower management and finally to the team leader before announcing the message to the rest of the team and then onto clients. When this takes place and you as the CEO notice that your message was not conveyed in the manner in which you intended, when do you step in? Do you at all?
What ensued with the NY Giants is that the original message, as it got passed down the chain, lost its intent. The message, for the most part, stayed in tact. So again, when you notice your original intent being compromised, when do you step in? If you do step in, how do you do it? Follow the chain of command again? Pass over upper management and go to lower management who was responsible for conveying your message and its intent to the employee? Should you go directly to the employee? When is it too late?
In this case, the fans were outraged. These are your clients in a typical company. Those that purchase your product or service. If this decision upsets the client to the magnitude of public outcry or just a massive amount of dismay being directed toward you, the owner, do you reconsider or stick to your decision even though things went haywire? Even if this decision drastically changes the direction of your organization or company? Even if your clients stop purchasing what you’re selling because of it? What do you do?
See, communication at any level is a key element of life. Personal and business. That’s why kids are taught the telephone game. To give a real world example of how important communicating a single message can be and how intent, tone of voice and other factors play in. It may seem all fun and games when you’re a kid but as an adult, you’re miscommunication can be incredibly detrimental.
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