The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question: What’s your New Year’s resolution? is written by Suri Suriyakumar, CEO of ARC Document Solutions.
Like many people, I tend to have the same New Year’s resolutions every year—drink more water, work out regularly, and floss daily. But this year I am going to resolve to do something different.
If I had to name one word that defines my business career, it would be “change.” I’ve acquired hundreds of companies and expanded a workforce from a handful of employees to thousands. And now fundamental and transformative change is occurring in our business—and that of our customers—as we move to the cloud and mobile applications. And the rate of change will only continue to accelerate in 2016.
So my New Year’s resolution is to communicate more often and more effectively, especially with colleagues and customers. I am increasingly recognizing that effective communication can solve just about any business problem. It’s especially imperative during times of innovation, when it can lead to more engaged and committed partnerships. The enormity of the change in all industries can’t be overstated.
Years ago, I was presented with a fountain pen as a gift. It sits behind me now, displayed in a rosewood box. Its green malachite, black enamel, and golden nib represent the height of fountain pen technology. It is heavy not only in my hand, but also with the promise of elegance in whatever I choose to write with it. This finely wrought miracle allows me to communicate with exactly one person at a time, bridging the physical distance between my correspondent and myself with paper and envelope. In the New Year, I plan to use my pen more, recognizing that one-to-one communication can be far more impactful.
By contrast, the latest version of the iPhone sits constantly by my side. Its glass and brushed metal reflect a sleek and contemporary style, but its design is by no means unique. With it my communication is often brief to the point of being terse, purposefully full of misspelled words and silly symbols. Depending on the dexterity of my thumbs, it is some of the most inelegant communication I have ever engaged in. Yet with it, I can reach many people – sometimes hundreds of people – in milliseconds, with the touch of my finger. But it is a poor substitute for actually getting in front of people. In 2016, I plan to have more in-person meetings, to avoid an over-dependence on virtual communication.
Regardless of the medium, I am resolved to communicate more effectively in 2016.