The one where you’re wrong


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…



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2 responses to “The one where you’re wrong

  1. I worked with a very smart CEO a few years ago, and his view was that major catastrophes usually stemmed from very small beginnings; where someone doesn’t listen properly, doesn’t record something, skips a process that they don’t undersand, don’t offer up a possibly pertinent fact, work on the assumption that senior people know better. Then it layers up into a culture where everyone assumes someone else is fixing it.

    I like what you’re saying; add this to the mix, that those in positions with authority fire up their own courage and become credible themselves by exploring any assumptions they may be making, and suspending the thought that they have to be all knowing.

  2. Pingback: Best of the HR Blogs August 2013: The HR bloggers' choice! | XpertHR - Employment Intelligence

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