On the too large number of mushrooms

13 Jan

My editor has been finding references to mushrooms everywhere in Beyond Luck. One or two he tells me severely – but no more.

What is a mushroom?  The species I am speaking of is not a fungus, rather:  “I must be a mushroom – managers keep me in the dark and feed me BS.”  We know mushrooms are not very productive and are prone to mischief.  Why then do managers keep their direct reports and executives keep hordes of people ill informed?  The answers to this would take a book, but:

Communication is hard work.

Effective management is principle driven.  Consider this general communication principle:

The better-informed people are – the better they perform.

It is almost always better for people to know than not to know. Not a bad philosophy and exceptions are rare.  When people are informed it:

Reduces uncertainly and fear.
Permits better decisions making.
Cleans up the grapevine, some.
Makes people smarter.

These are good things.  Unfortunately managers cannot communicate everything to everyone.  So one of the tasks of managers is to ascertain what information people need to do their jobs.  The second is to use identify and use the optimal channel to communicate that information.  Interesting problem.

Two thought questions for managers:

If I can’t explain a decision maybe I should reconsider it?

Do the appropriate people have the appropriate information to..….

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One Response to “On the too large number of mushrooms”

  1. Lynn Manternach January 13, 2010 at 1:21 pm #

    In these uncertain economic times, keeping employees informed is especially important. It’ll be even more important once the economy starts to improve, and good employees start looking for better opportunities. Good communication is a key part of keeping good employees!

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