Welcome, ye who hail from Huffington Post Small Business. I wish I was writing with exuberance, but I’m a little deflated at the moment, I’ll admit. We’re kindred spirits, though, you and I, so I can admit that. Small business owners gotta stick together, right?
I just returned from my monthly “Posse” meeting. It’s a group of small business owners who gather monthly, and in the strictest of confidence, hash out whatever issues we’re battling at the moment. In fact, as one of my colleagues put it this evening: if each brain at that table was worth $5,000 an hour, it would be about $120,000 worth of consulting. Pretty powerful stuff.
Posse meetings are not always easy, though. Sometimes we have to hear things we don’t want to hear. Just last month, I received feedback from someone in the group that I didn’t want to hear. I didn’t respond well. In fact, I could almost feel my fists come to my face, ready to respond in unadulterated defensive fashion.
I know nothing about boxing, or defensive sport of any kind, so that’s probably not a smart move.
It’s also not typically the kind of move I’d make.
I believe that defensive communication breeds defensive communication. Defense escalates the heat, the fight. It makes things worse, not better. No one wins. Lose/lose, as Stephen Covey would have said.
If we don’t learn how to take it, if we don’t train ourselves to respond positively to critique, we’ll never improve. We’ll never grow.
If you’re here from the Huffington Post, you probably realize I’ve committed the worst blogging mistake a company can make–a poorly written blog headline.
But here’s the thing: I don’t want to be a company. I want to be a human. Companies have to be perfect. Humans are allowed to be flawed.
There’s no forgiveness if you’re a company that’s committed a cardinal business sin. It’s harder to apologize when you’re a “we”, and an apology means more when it’s an “I”.
I’m not writing this to make apologies for poorly written headlines. I’m writing this to let you know, that one of the most powerful things you can do on your blog, as a company, is to give it a human voice. Be yourself.
Perfection isn’t attainable. The alternative is wholly fulfilling: trying to be the best version of myself I was created to be.
Now, in the spirit of receiving constructive criticism, I’m off to write a better headline.