Jo Geraghty


Ghosting: your culture, your problem

Date added: 22nd May 2017
Category: Culture of conduct/ethics

What does ghosting say about your culture? What message does it give out about the way in which you see and value collaboration as a means to delivering the strategy?

You never write, you never call…..I thought we had something going?

Couldn’t you even be honest, couldn’t you have let me down gently.  Even a stock ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ contact would have been better than this silence.

Channel hopping on the radio recently I came across an interview with an online company which offers a range of breakup services from a simple text to a phone call or letter. It seems strange that in an age of instant communication some of us may still resort to asking third parties to transmit the breakup message on our behalf, but at least the message was being transmitted, at least there was some form of closure to the relationship.

Contrast that with ‘ghosting’, a growing social and business phenomena which was highlighted by Simon Sinek in a recent talk he gave in London. Essentially, ghosting is a way of ending a relationship by simply breaking off all contact, refusing to answer calls and ignoring all attempts to initiate a follow-up conversation. In itself ghosting says much about the individual or business which acts in this way with Simon Sinek defining the practice as “lacking the skill to have a confrontational conversation.”

Is it a recent phenomenon? When you think of the history of businesses not even bothering to respond to job applicants then perhaps not, but what does seem to be on the rise is the practice of taking a business relationship to a certain level before cutting off contact. So you may have had initial conversations, your prospective supplier or collaborator may have put some time and effort into identifying synergies and costings, follow up meetings may have taken place; and then… nothing.

What does that say about your culture? What message does that give out about the way in which you see and value collaboration as a means to delivering the strategy? It’s said that in business people buy from people but if ghosting is a common practice in your business then are you the sort of people that others would want to do business with.

It’s easy to make excuses, it’s easy to say that that’s just one individual who is so overworked they haven’t got the time to make a call, to explain that you decided to follow another pathway or appoint another supplier. But it’s your culture which is allowing them to ghost, your reputation which they are putting on the line. We live in a social media age; don’t let that allow you to ignore basic social courtesies.

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