Blog Posts

Post Category: ‘Communicating bad news’

Blackberry outage – a great example of how not to communicate strategy

So it is now day three of the great blackberry outage, and what do we know? I know emails come to my desktop but not to my blackberry.  Then suddenly, 4-8 hours later I get a burst onto my blackberry.  Not good when I am out and about. Well if you go to the RIM website you are greeted by …

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Admirable honesty from a Politician

It is refreshing to hear frankness and honesty from a politician.  So I was amused to read this on the FT.com website about the  budgetary message once delivered by Enver Hoxha, the late dictator of Albania, who told his people: “Next year will be worse than this year. It will not, however, be as bad as the year after next.”   …

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Politicians claiming responsibility for things they don’t control is a bad model to follow

Back near the start of the Gulf of Mexico crisis, Barack Obama claimed to have hid foot on the neck of the oil executives in BP ensuring that they solve the problem.  An unfortunate metaphor perhaps as it is quite difficult to operate an oil rig with someone’s boot on your neck.  However for many weeks as the leak persisted …

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Clarity of communication: Fukushima nuclear reactor as an example.

Watching the developments after the terrible earthquake and tsunami in Japan, I have been frustrated by the reporting of the problems at the nuclear reactor plant at Fukushima. The thing that frustrated me the most was the loose language used in describing the reactors and their various problems.   Let me highlight two examples. 1) There is a clear distinction between …

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Leaking news or keeping it under wraps

As it it budget day in the UK, (The day the Chancellor announces changes to various tax rates)  we have been inundated with speculation about what will be in the Chancellor’s budget.   All prior to the announcement. Now it is a tradition that the contents of the Chancellor’s red box (briefcase) remains sealed and a secret until it is …

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Vince Cable – Not even malicious compliance

Only a few weeks ago Lord Young was booted out of office for telling the truth about the cuts, but at an inappropriate time.  He was merely an advisor to the Cabinet. Now we have Vince Cable, a member of the cabinet, telling people “in his constituency” (actually giggling Daily telegraph reporters)  that he was at war with Rupert Murdoch, …

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Communicating finance in the public sector

Just at the moment, one of the most difficult places to be must be in finance in the public sector. They are constantly re-doing budgets and subject to negotiations over custs to funding from central government. That is if the organisation still exists: if you are a quango, there is a fair chance you are about to get the chop. …

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Admitting to mistakes and taking responsibility

Listen out for how people explain problems and faliures. Do they say: “It was the weather. We had a wet summer and numbers were down” “There were roadworks outside the shop for 6 weeks and that discouraged people from visiting” “The economic crisis caused us to lose turnover and therefore profitability” Or do they say: “Despite the bad weather the …

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Communicating tough decisions

Communicating Tough decisions As Directors and Managers, you sometimes have to make a tough decision: to make people redundant, close down plants, move services off shore, move manufacturing facilities or shed unprofitable customers. Of course, you will need to plan these changes carefully. You will need to comply with statutory requirements and contractual conditions. There are statutory redundancy periods and …

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Communicating redundancy and bad news

Directors and managers, sometimes have to tell people, what is for them, bad news. At times you will have to make tough decisions: to make people redundant, close down plants, move services off shore, move manufacturing facilities and shed unprofitable customers. Of course, you will need to plan these changes carefully. You will need to comply with statutory requirements and …

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