Definition — Getting the bad news out the right way

In the previous post on defining the scope of an escalation, I highlighted the risk of appearing to be a “Chicken Little”.   Below are some quick tips on how to assemble timely facts, consequences, and answers before starting any conversation:

  • Make it real (time) — Quickly collect real data and evidence; you don’t want it to seem like you’re spouting personal opinions.
  • Keep it real — Don’t exaggerate the situation just for effect; hyperbole only gives your boss an excuse to dismiss you as overly dramatic.
  • Build coalitions — Your boss will be much more apt to listen if you have a group of colleagues who share your views about what’s going wrong. Even better is if you have suppliers, business partners, or customers who will corroborate the case you’re making.
  • Have solutions — Be ready to discuss what you’re prepared to do to fix the situation, not what you think others ought to do. Suggesting workable solutions builds your reputation as a person of action, not a complainer
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