Last week the newspapers in the UK were full of the latest story about Vince Cable, the Business Secretary. A document had been ‘leaked’ to the Press, in which Mr Cable criticised the government for having ‘no vision’ for business.
Well, as Business Secretary Vince Cable is part of the Government. As Business Secretary he is the person who leads the Government’s involvement in private business. So from where I’m sitting, he may as well have leaked a document saying, ‘I’m not very good at my job’!
There are two lessons in this for all of us:
Firstly, whenever you feel like criticising someone else over a problem, consider what your own responsibility might be. Have you really done everything you could to resolve the issue or prevent it? Is it really and truly only down to that other person or is it possible that you have contributed in some way to the situation you’re now complaining about?
The good thing about accepting responsibility for creating a problem is that it shifts you into the mindset where you can create the solution. (Known in NLP as being ‘at cause’)
The second lesson is this: If you are going to speak to the world at large, (or your customers, or your organisation) think about what you’re saying first. Be clear about the purpose of your communication; think about exactly how to phrase your message. Consider some of the possible ways that what you say can be interpreted and make sure that none of them are damaging to your purpose.
Actually, there is a third lesson here as well. If you’re part of a team and you criticise the team, who comes off worst?
(Please get in touch if you’d like me to work with you on crafting or delivering productive communications in your organisation)