Sunday, August 23, 2009

Recognizing Code Words

When I was working, I noticed that managers to used certain code words conveyed poor performance to other managers, but not necessarily to the employee. In our company, an example code phrase was, "doesn't speak up in meetings." To managers, that meant the employee wasn't effective enough to present and defend their point of view to others. Or it could mean the employee didn't show the needed leadership skills. To some employees, this type of feedback seemed minor. they often thought their performance was very good, with the exception of public speaking.

In many cases, new hires and minorities were the main employees that missed the meaning of the code words. In my mentoring role, I would sometimes explain the meaning of a code phrase to an employee.

Since retiring, I've had to learn a new set of code words, those spoken by mother's. Last week, I was as a soccer camp, and a mother said to me, "Your daughter is so cute. She came up to us and ask about the types of snacks we brought to share. I told her that she would need to check with her parents." I said thanks, and thought nothing else about it. My spouse immediately said, "Thanks for telling us. I'll have to talk to her about that."

I immediately recognized that I had missed the code phrase of "your daughter is so cute" followed by an action that needed parental intervention. I guess I'll need to learn the new set of code words quickly to make sure I don't miss any opportunities :-)

For more on New Beginnings, check back every for a new segment.

This is not financial or parenting advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

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