Posted on December 3, 2014 · Posted in Uncategorized
Control Your Message
We’ve all seen it.  Something happens within an organization: someone leaves under suspicious conditions, plans goes awry, a schedule is missed.  That’s life, but what happens next makes all the difference.
Far too often, leaders don’t acknowledge the bad news and get out in front of it.  Instead, they hang back and see if it will go away.
It never does.  Instead, others usurp the right to broadcast the message and “spin” it.  We often refer to these others collectively as The Grapevine. 
A couple facts about the grapevine: 
  1.  It almost always gets the facts wrong.
  2. Its message contains enough truth to seem plausible.
  3. It often twists the facts to fit its own sinister message.
  4. Its message is, with rare exception, unflattering of legitimate leaders. 
So, ask yourself, why would the legitimate leaders allow someone else to control their message?
I had a boss once that used to say, “Unlike wine, bad news never gets better with age.”  He was right.  If you wait until conditions are right, you’ve made two egregious errors.   
  • First, you open the door to the conjecture and speculation. 
  • Second, you give up your right to control your own message.

Lean has deep belief in “Respect for People.”  One of the manifestations of that belief is the act of transparency.  Transparency often translates to telling the truth.

Good leaders get out ahead of the bad news and truthfully state what happened and, often, why.  That is, they control their own message.
And, good leaders do it immediately.  They don’t sleep on it, because once the wrong message is out there, anything new raises the suspicion that someone is lying.  Who do you think will win that battle?

No, the best leaders control their own message and to do it promptly.