Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Enemy of Corporate Communications


Lesson 17

"What my boss doesn't know can't hurt me."

- The Filter Builder's Motto

Everyone has a comfort zone.  There is a point at which individuals become nervous and uncertain about the security of their positions.  This is only natural.  Losing a job or a reduction in job status impacts a lot more than someone's pride and ego.  Throughout a person's professional career, she has built a lifestyle that closely reflects her professional success.  The house he lives in, the car she drives, the neighborhood where the kids go to school, the golf or tennis crowd he hangs out with, or the church she attends.  As a leader, you need to understand how much a person's life and lifestyle are tied to his or her position in your organization.
A person tends to become a filter builder over a long period of time with a company, although it can also happen quickly under the right circumstances.  The filter builders know that they can avoid rocking the organizational boat by making sure that the top decision makers don't get upset hearing bad news or by problems they might find disturbing.  If you are a top decision maker, you need to be careful this doesn't happen to you. Make sure that the information you should be receiving from the lower levels of your organization is not being filtered.

Everyone has a bigger fish just one stop up the food chain.  In management situations, everyone has a smaller fish one stop in the other direction.  If true, accurate, and factual information is being filtered or, worse yet, misrepresented, as it makes its way through the ranks, the top leaders are likely to be left in the dark about what's truly going on with their internal and external customers.  How dangerous is this problem?  There are some companies we used to hear a lot about that are now gone.  They were filtered to death.

To be an effective leader you need real information, whether the news is good or bad.  You have the power to fix problems and to help your people grow and develop.  You can't do either of those things if you're operating with limited and/or inaccurate information.  Filter Builders are everywhere, protecting their backsides.  Don't think your organization is immune.  You must identify them and deal with them.  If not, you are putting yourself, your organization, your customers, and all of your stakeholders at risk.

Here are some things you can do to reduce filtered information:

·      Develop a mobile management style of, "Management by Walking Around."
·      Ask all levels of management and team members' questions, act on their ideas, and let them know what you've done.
·      Let everyone on all levels of management know in no uncertain terms that filtering information will not be tolerated.
"Weed out filter builders"

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