Admitting to difficult choices
A recent conversation came round to an interesting communications point. A really important one, although it looks a bit pedantic:
We rarely choose to own the difficult choices that come out of a difficult environment. And in communications, we blame external factors. It’s perfectly natural, but it gives everyone else a reason to dodge owning a decision. You know the sort of thing:
“Because of the recession/economic conditions/new legislation, we have to make some changes/redundancies…”
Or whatever language your organisation uses.
So what we’re saying is no-one at the top of the organisation had a choice – or at least none are willing to own up to having to make one.
Hardly leadership is it?
Instead, I think we need to talk about the overall environment – the recession, etc – lay out the consequences of doing nothing, the best viable options and then someone – presumably the leader – says “It’s a tough decision that I wish I hadn’t had to make, but the alternative was worse. So I’ve decided to do xxxx.”
Because there was a decision made – as a friend put it recently, it may be a choice between standing in four feet of s**t or standing in six feet of s**t, but it was a choice.
Because if the leader blames external factors for difficult decisions, why can’t everyone?