There is No Substitute for Face-to-Face


“Some of my team members work in the office and some are in the field,” explained Tillford.  “People in the field seem to have difficulty understanding my expectations.  I often have to send documents back for corrections and updates.”

Tillford further explained that the office and field members were well-trained and, thanks to robust electronic media, he used the same format for communicating to both groups.

I asked, “Do field staff every come to the office?  Do you visit them in the field?”

“Field people come in every quarter for our all-hands meetings but I don’t get much one-on-one time with them.”

I said to Tillford that perhaps he should make time for more face-to-face contact, either by periodically visiting field offices or by asking field staff to travel to his office.  Because of the cost and inconvenience, Tillford had resisted doing this in the past.  However, because he was so frustrated with current performances, he agreed to try it.

Six months later, Tillford reported, “I can’t believe how much our communication has improved.  After just a few field visits, our understanding improved dramatically and field team members are performing just as well, maybe even better, than their office counterparts.”

2 thoughts on “There is No Substitute for Face-to-Face

  1. At the end of your article, Tillford mentions that the field reps may be outperforming their office counterparts. Why do you think that is?
    My inclination would lead me to believe that he is actually connecting and getting quality time with the people in the field now and may assume that because people in the office have more face time that it equals quality time, which can be a bad assumption.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jody, I agree with your insightful observation. Tillford may well be less clear with expectations and communications with the team members in his office because he is around them a lot. Since the field visits require more time and effort, Tillford’s interactions are likely better planned and more effective.

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