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Letters to a Young Manager

The Bump Into Factor, #247
LTYM > Communication

Dear Adam,
Communicating the top priorities for your team may just be the most important thing you do as a leader. As you may have discovered, this is not a once-for-all event. You need to tell and tell again what's most important this year.

I once heard a story Tom Peters told. He used to have a large dictionary on a shelf in his home office. He said he would look up a word every so often. One day he went out and bought a small table for the book. He put it in the hallway between his office and the bathroom. Now he looks up a word at least once a day. He calls this the "bump into" factor.

His story illustrates that by increasing the opportunities for contact, your adoption goes up. That's important for communicating your priorities. Unless you team adopts these, they just gather dust.

[1] Tom Peters, "The Pursuit of Wow!," 1994, p. 71 (Kindle edition)
"Case. My giant Random House Dictionary of the English Language used to sit on a bookshelf. I used it a couple of times a month. Then I moved it to a hall table that I pass a dozen times a day. Now I use the dictionary at least once a day. Case. We kept our bikes in the garage at our seaside home. We went bike riding every two or three days. Then we moved the bikes outside, next to the back door. Now we go riding a couple of times a day. These two vignettes tell you most of what you need to know about life. Honest. I call it the “bump-into factor.” Want your 20 employees to become more “business minded”? Start by giving all of them subscriptions, sent to their homes, to Inc., Fortune, and Success".
[2] Tom Peters wrote in 1987 "Eliminate one silly regulation or one useless report in the next 72 hours. Start, within the month, giving one, perhaps humorous, award at each staff meeting, for the most creative act of bureaucracy reduction."


Put the new in the middle of the path

Discussion Questions:

1) What is the one thing you want everyone on your team to know? How can you arrange for them to "bump into" this daily?
2) Tom Peters Also talks about starting every meeting with a customer service story if you want to emphasize service. Is this an option for your team? Is it too corny? Is that the point? [2]
3) Does your team "bump into" the wrong things each day? How can you remove these and substitute the right things?

For Further Reading:

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