What are Glass Bubbles and could they be affecting your business success without you even knowing?
Helen Jones, the founder and CEO of training provider, Cortecs, has developed the concept of Glass Bubbles to explain how breakdowns in communication are having a negative effect on the day-to-day running of businesses.
Thanks to advances in technology, we’ve never had so many ways to communicate with one another. Theoretically, we are able to reach our family, friends, and even brands by phone, email, text, tweet, or Facebook post – to name but a few options. So why does it sometimes feel as though in this modern age, it’s impossible to be really heard?
Glass Bubbles are the often impenetrable communication bubbles that everyone – from individuals to corporations – retreat into in order to avoid meaningful, real-time communication. These bubbles can create chaos between colleagues, ineffective communications between internal departments, and eventually build real barriers between a business and its existing or potential customers. Left unpopped, they can have a detrimental effect on businesses of any size across every sector.
Are your employees in a glass bubble?
Picture your place of work. Its commonplace these days for teams to use internal emails or more modern platforms like Slack or Skype to interact with colleagues, partners, or suppliers. But despite having the luxury of being able to choose from numerous communication platforms, are your employees or colleagues any more effective at communicating with each other in the workplace?
I’d argue the answer is no, in fact communication is likely to be worse. With testing economic times, many professionals are tending to retreat further into their Glass Bubbles, determined to solidify their own responsibilities and less inclined to communicate clearly with colleagues. This can lead to anything from mounting frustrations between teams to missed deadlines or a decline in productivity. It’s clear then that Glass Bubbles need to be identified – and burst.
Bursting the Glass Bubbles within your team requires them to do acknowledge the communication strategies they use, that actually prevent effective communication. While many of us would like to think that we are good at listening to and conversing with others, it’s vital that your employees start thinking about how attentive they really are. Plenty of us are guilty of instinctively taking out a mobile phone not to communicate but, to avoid communicating with the people we are actually with, or opting to ignore a phone call in favour of sending an email, or even delaying replying to an email until we know it’s too late.
These strategies allow people to ‘hide’ behind the technology and inevitably slow down the communications process. The first step towards solving these issues is encouraging employees to recognise the flaws in their working practices, acknowledge the needs of their colleagues and customers, and work on breaking the communication habits that keep them in their bubble.
Is your company in a glass bubble?
Glass Bubbles don’t exclusively affect individuals. An entire organisation can be guilty of retreating into a Glass Bubble – and as a result can damage its relationship with its customers.
Gone are the days when disgruntled British consumers would indignantly proclaim “I’m going to write a letter!” or “Go and see someone”. Consumers are told that logging a complaint or asking an organisation a question is quicker and simpler. After all, we can phone, email, chat online, or even tweet, and then wait to get an answer back. But realistically, have these additional communication options dramatically improved our customer service experience?
Most of us have a customer service horror story; being bounced around an internal phone system, emails falling on deaf ears, endlessly being reminded how important we are to a company and how much our custom is valued but never actually reaching a satisfying resolution or feeling like we’ve been listened to. The fact is people feel shut out by organisational Glass Bubbles every day, and it inevitably leads to customers turning away from your company and ultimately spending their money elsewhere.
How can you burst Glass Bubbles?
The best way to go about dismantling the Glass Bubbles that exist in your company is to create an environment where employees and teams are confident enough to lower their communications barriers and operate in a more open and honest way. Of course, this is often a gradual process, and creating behavioural change within teams is no mean feat.
As a workplace training provider, I’m fortunate enough to see Glass Bubbles getting burst everyday as individuals and teams undergo training specifically designed to make them interact with each other more effectively and think about their working relationships in ways they previously never did.
Bursting Glass Bubbles within an organisation is the first step in chipping away at bubbles that exist between your organisation and its existing and potential customers. By Identifying and tackling your Glass Bubbles you’ll be able to foster a more harmonious, efficient working environment both internally and externally that ultimately leads to a more successful business.
To mark Equal Pay Day 2016, Cortecs is hosting a unique training session for women on empowering and asserting themselves at work on November 9th.
To book a place at the session, or for further information, email [email protected] or call 0845 226 8234.