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The three most dangerous phrases in an organisation.

Have you ever discussed this with your team: If your company, or if your department was a person, what kind of a person they would be? How would you describe them? And would the person that is your company be friends with the person that is your department?

It is a useful and enriching exercise to look at your company or your team as a living organism, ain’t it? The reason is that they are, indeed, living organisms with person’s characteristics - fun, reliable, respectful or negative, grumpy and uncooperative. And as every person, they talk. And here are the three most dangerous phrases you can hear from them

It’s not my job.

Don’t read on if you have not even once encountered this phrase in your professional life. You either just started to work, or you are from another planet, the second one being more likely. The debate of whether employees need to be strictly specialised or be able to understand a bigger part of the organisation has been going on for decades. But when you are a client and you hear “It is not my job” from a representative of the company, what you hear is “It is not the job of my company to provide you with the service you came here to look for”. Even if the CEO of the company is on the top list of Best CEOs in the world, a phrase like “It's not my job” from a person in the front desk makes all adverting, training and salaries spent sunk costs - sunk and wasted as deep as the Challenger Deep in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench. And by the way although many people climbed the highest peak on Earth - Everest, in fact the deepest place has ever been reached by only two people. One thing is clear: if a client needs something, it should be everyone’s job in the organisation to make sure their request is followed through. And this is also valued for our colleagues, the internal clients.

“No-one has told me about this (officially).”

I have a confession to make. I am personally guilty of getting sad and depressed thinking about that phrase. “Why did not they tell me about this or that?, I would think, “Do they want to hide it from me? Am I not good enough to be told? Do they want to hurt me? Do they want to exclude me?”. Such thoughts have crossed my mind back in the days. Let me tell you about the Hanlon’a razor and how it helped me to overcome such thoughts. This is a philosophical adage that reads “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity” In simpler words, as Wikipedia explains it: “Some bad things happen not because of people having bad intentions, but because they did not think it through properly”. In the organisations, especially in the big ones, facilitated by the hundreds of forms of communications, information about 10 000 projects, events, activities, flow around. The good organisations makes sure that whoever needs to know and contribute, does. But you need to accept that you will never be 100% informed about everything. So next time when you hear something that concerns you and you feel you should have known earlier, just ask politely next time to be included in the loop earlier and contribute your best nevertheless.

“We have always done it this way.”

The world is changing with unprecedented speed. And so does the way people do things. When I started my first junior job in communications, and that was a about 17 years ago, would you believe it that no-one, I repeat no-one, accepted as a official internal communication anything that was not delivered in an A4 paper forma AND signed by hand by the Head of HR. When I proposed to send internal communications via e-mail and it was considered a revolution. The official channel to communicate with media was by fax, which I was used to as a journalist. In a year this changed completely and we forgot about the fax. In recent times the way you have done your business yesterday, the channels, the means, are already obsolete. How you did things before could actually hurt your current business. So hang on the speed train of constant changes and improvement, put on your fast -earning hat and hop into the future, which is already happening today.

If I was a CEO, would put those three phrases on a poster for everyone to remind themselves of and never ever use again.

Victory Corners 2022, by Viktoriya V. Blazheva


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