I recently found myself trying to talk an Executive team into allowing their employees the use of Facebook and Twitter. There’s a ton of already written about using social media for branding, building community, fund raising, etc. I’m not inventing the wheel here. But they are afraid people will waste time on Facebook and Twitter.
In my experience, everything flows downstream. People act the way you treat them, the way you expect them to.
There’s also a ton of documentation already written about that as well – particularly in educational settings. If you expect the child to fail, to be disruptive, etc. there’s a good chance s/he will. And vice versa. If you expect them to shine, that’s probably going to happen as well.
The thing is, nine times out of ten, you get what you expect.
Growing up, I worked in restaurants. The Jolly Swagman was an Australian restaurant on Long Island. It was a family run business and they treated all of us like part of the family. Staff meals were delicious, the same fine food that was served to the customers. Nothing was off limits, we could eat or drink anything we wanted. I worked as a prep cook, spending a lot of time shelling cooked lobsters and crab into two giant sinks. One for the delicious cooled cooked meats and one for shells. The first night, as I worked, I ate my fill of chilled lobster, well within eye-sight of the manager.
That was the first and only time I abused their generosity.
Years later, I found myself working at an Italian restuarant and piano bar on 52nd Street and 2nd Avenue. I was in desperate need of a job, food, help. It was a bad time in my life, a time I should have been grateful for any hand up. Also a small family business, but here, staff meals were restricted to pasta dishes and on the very first day, I was told I’d be fired if I was caught eating a single shrimp.
We were all reminded of that with regularity.
And so, I stole pounds of shrimp and bottle after bottle of wine. Not that I couldn’t afford the wine. I could, I made pretty good money there. And of course, I was a much bigger drunk by the time I got to 52nd Street than I was on Long Island, but I got so much pleasure out of stealing something from someone who expected me to, who was waiting to catch me before they even met me and was ready to punish me the minute they did. If they already thought I was stealing and were just waiting to catch me, well, if the shoe fits, I might as well wear it, no?
Social media is a well designed time-suck but the point is, the time-wasting part is an administrative issue. People act the way you expect them to. I’m convinced that’s why I’ve never been in a Radio Shack, anywhere, where the staff is helpful or happy. Or why I’ve never been in an Old Navy where they weren’t.
Everything flows downstream.