Thursday, May 1, 2008

What to Do With Bad News

Mitigate it.

I like this quote from an interesting article:

"For example, one toxin handler at a transportation company was told by her boss: "Tell those idiots out there to get their act together and finish the job by Friday, or else they'll be sorry!" Her response was to pull her staff together and put the directive in a form that conveyed the task but not the sentiment. "The boss needs us to complete this task by Friday," she told them, "so let's put our heads together and see what we need to do to meet this deadline." By taking the sting out of the boss's message, the toxin handler helped everyone to focus on the challenge rather than seeing the directive as an attack on their capabilities."

I screwed up once, I passed along the news to my guitarist that the guy who arranged a benefit show we were in didn't even put us on the list to play and the sound guy was desperately trying to squeeze us in.

Two things: First, don't play in benefit shows unless you have a lot of time on your hands. They are organized by people who don't know what they are doing. And the band member who books your band should be the busiest most practical one not the most bored. Second, facts are not to be passed on all dramatic and juicy like gossip. There is no point. Waiting is waiting and the reason won't change a thing. Actually if my loved one was in surgery, I wouldn't want them to come out and tell me, "It will be just a little bit longer. We're trying to stop the bleeding."

One of my friends has a strategy. After talking about something, say it's no problem. Leave it up to the listener to decide if and how much of a problem it is. Not conveying anger at all, just gee, this is interesting...

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