Posted by: Doug Geiger | 2009/06/28

Sidewalks come second

A quick mobile post.

On my way into church this morning I noticed this sidewalk and dirt patch (at bottom of post) and it reminded me of a principle of modern communication that I learned the hard way. The principle is this: build your sidewalks where people walk not where they are pretty.

If you work with people that prefer reading on dead trees; print it out for them. Some people prefer phone calls and others prefer face-to-face. There are tons of ways to communicate with people and the right way is not the way you prefer it is the way that gets the job done. Whenever I work with a new client, project manager or boss I quickly learn how they want to hear from me.

Years ago I volunteered my time to help start a church. Most of my work was strategic and logistical. One of the mistakes I made was assuming that we were all hip and cool and so I pushed hard to go all digital and implemented a bunch of online collaborative solutions. The adoption rate was poor and I was confused. I built a path that worked for ME, a path that was elegant and the envy of those who shared my values and frankly it was a great path; unfortunately, that path didn’t work well for those for whom it was built and so it went unused.

Sidewalks may look pretty on a blueprint in a fan pattern with cute little jaunts and sweeping curves but people will always walk on the path they prefer–it is best to go ahead and pave there.

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