An office staff is involved in an intense meeting. They face not achieving their yearly objectives at the pace they are going and spending way more money than was planned at the beginning of the year. Something has to change. The boss is already a little embarrassed as this happened on his watch, so his demeanor has changed. His exterior is a little harder than it is normally.
He goes over the plan with his staff laying out all the details. Come to find out. IT’S A TERRIBLE PLAN! If this plan is put into action, it will be an epic failure. The look of terror shrieks across the faces of the staff. As soon as he finishes up one person says, “Um…” as if they are going to question the plan the boss has just laid out.
The boss turns and glares intensely at the employee. It’s such an intense look his eyebrows and his eyes seem to merge into one. Immediately, the staff member looks down to his lap and pretends he didn’t make a noise. What would you do in this situation?
It seems that this is a no win situation and there are only two choices.
1: Silence. You keep quiet and clam up pretending the boss has made a wise decision and secretly know the whole thing is destined to fail and are too afraid to speak up.
2: Risk Violence. You speak up and offend the boss. He can’t believe you questioned his authority and disrespect him. So his new agenda is not saving the company. His new motive is to punish you. Now what?
Well let me tell you something. These are the choices of fools. You are better and more skilled than having to choose between these two options. Your job is to not remain silent or risk violence. Your job is to open dialog. When there is information that is going unsaid and unused you must be the one who gathers the information into a community pool so it can be evaluated and accepted by all parties.
This is what separates winners from losers, the skilled from unskilled, and the productive from unproductive. You don’t have to make the fool’s choice of SILENCE OR VIOLENCE. You can become more than that. In this situation, here’s the recommended wording I would use, “Hey boss. Respectfully I’d like to ask your permission to open a little dialog on the subject to make sure we are all on the same page and moving in the same direction.” Then go over any perceivable concern you think anyone (including yourself) would have.
What do you think? I’m open to dialog.