Reality eats your well-crafted message for breakfast



Organizations will tell everyone they have a whiz bang culture while having high employee turnover. They will tell everyone how much they care for their employees while their employees are actively disengaged. They will tell their employees the organization is well positioned for growth while financial results continue to slide downward. You see it all around you, messaging being obliterated by the reality which people are living every day.  

Reality will always overcome messaging

It is very hard to point at something which people see as being a problem and convince them it is not. Your credibility evaporates quickly. Organizations are always trying to minimize problems by talking over it. Too many people have heard the talk without any evidence of actual progress. People will give you credit, if and only if you can clearly show you are making tangible progress. The vast majority of people will not give you credit until the problem has been resolved.

There was an organization which had a very well-known and much discussed problem. The problem came to a head and the employees were looking for something to be done. The employees had a solution in mind and it was well communicated to management. The solution did not happen. The employee solution rejected. The next thing that happened was something every employee saw as a negative event. Management attempted to talk over the rejection and tried to convince the employees the negative event was actually positive. It was an unmitigated disaster.

The fatal flaw of messaging is exposed when people quit listening

As you can imagine, the employees stopped listening. They realized the reality they were living was not going to change. The problem was going to continue and probably get worse over time. Quickly the employees started looking for alternative answers. The most obvious answer was to quit and go somewhere else. One of the resignations was a true shock to management. They were not expecting this person to leave. Management went into panic mode and did everything to try and save the person.

There was a major problem with trying to save this person. The employee had started half-heartedly looking for another job. The employee was not ready for what happened next. A dream job was dropped in their lap. It was closer to family, it paid more and it was with a company the employee highly respected. The half-hearted attempt had borne an opportunity they could not turn down.

Organizations will never be able to comprehend how many times this happens. Reality always wins.