Hitler invading Russia – wrong
Boasting that the Titanic couldn’t be sunk – wrong
Building Columbia from the components provided by the cheapest bidder – wrong
The team at NASA using metric whilst contractors Lockheed Martin use imperial – wrong
AOL buying Time Warner – wrong
Launching New Coke – wrong
Apple firing Steve Jobs – wrong
Reducing the blowout prevention at Deepwater Horizon – wrong
Tesco launching ‘Fresh&Easy’ into the US – wrong
The list goes on and on and of course we are all wise after the event but…my curiousity is with each of these decisions was there at least one person in the room who disagreed? If there was, did they say anything?
None of these failiures were due just to a tactical or operational failiure – they are all (at least they appear) to be based on poor strategic decision making so who was at fault? The person who made the decision or those who failed to challenge them?
Telling truth to power is difficult but for HR people it is ESSENTIAL – whether that be in hiring, performance management, organisational design and effectiveness, renumeration, employment law, etc. We MUST tell truth to power and that involves two things 1) being credible 2) being brave
The first is all down to preparation – know the argument, the counter argument and have the data. The second is down to the split second when you reach the fork in the road. Please for the sake of your organisation and your self esteem – take the road less travelled and tell power the truth. Otherwise you’re wrong…