One of my pet peeves is assuming negative intent. I find people that are in the business of constantly pointing out failure without desire to collaborate quite irritating, like a bee that just buzzes around your head and all you want to do is swat it. In the community business, these can be your colleagues, sales people or even your customers.
According to Marshall Goldsmiths’ book MOJO , we just have to accept and focus our energies on the short and long term activities that we enjoy. Easier said than done sometimes when we are in the call queue and waiting to take another brutal call about a well documented service bulletin that is suppose to repair a really critical product issue. Nonetheless, what we need to do as community managers is turn our energies toward what may feel negative or impossible and use this as an opportunity to find ways to bring these individuals them into the fold. It can be challenging – but sometimes these dissenters really do have great ideas and good things to propose – they want to be heard, but they may not have any leadership, collaborative skills to do that – so we have to find ways that we can listen and be the advocate on their behalf.
In reading David Armano article on “Anatomy of the Movement” on the HBR Blog, relevant to this conversation true for us to think more about; “Movements can be desirable weapons in the war to influence behavior, but you need to understand how they work.”
Perhaps if we spent more time visiting understanding or visiting our customers, we could really get to understand why? Why we feel they have negative intent? Why they are calling us so often with complaints? Or what we can do about it?
We can be the advocate on their behalf and turn what appear to be negative situations into new possibilities.