Avoiding the communication dip – never lose your audience
Where I am going with this is simply that our brain as sophisticated and capable as it is almost certainly is assuming the worst case scenario if no feedback is received for a while. This is true for just about any social and work setting. Just imagine yourself at work when you do not hear how the company is doing. Has that ever gone on for a couple of weeks? Just watch your water cooler talk disintegrate from bad to worse over time. The antidote is a steady pinging signal worth of messages that will keep you and the organization on an even keel.
There is an interesting analogy to this phenomenon that happened quite a long time ago. In June of 1948 Russia blockaged Western Berlin, where all air, water and road access had been cut in a surprise overnight action. Here is where America and its allies shone: For 322 days Berliners were supplied with anything from coal to sweets with airplanes that were later dubbed the “Rosinenbomber” – raison bombers http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1758.html. This is about as close as we came to World War III togehter with the Cuban Missile Crisis. Can you imagine that prop planes were landed based on sight only in 2 minute intervals? Older generation Germans are still fond of how America saved Western Berlin.
Why I mention this you ask? Remember that this happened 3 years after the war and the technology to fly and land planes in any weather condition and temperature were not even close to perfect. The pilots needed to solely rely on the air traffic controllers to guide them safely to the airport even if they had no visual contact with them and the runways. So what would happen was that the air traffic folks would call upon the pilots every other minute or so even if they had nothing to report. The point of the whole exercise was to stay connected with the pilot such that they would not go stir crazy or for them to assume the worst things. It was this simple trick that saved many a pilot and plane during the blockage.
I am giving your snow globe a hefty stir today by trying to inspire you to stay in contact with the people that you barely see but rely on you for leadership. They need to hear your “you are going to be ok – I got your back” message that you need to repeatedly send on a regular basis. What will you say and how often and whom will you include in your messaging system?