Often time business cultures adapt a “no speak zone“. The no speak zone is aimed at keeping tough dialog from being out in the open and such dialog is replaced by politically correct speak. If you address issues aggressively with the truth of a matter you’re often labeled as blunt, too aggressive or inappropriate. The consequences to individuals are you can become isolated or avoided by those not wanting to deal with the issues at hand. The consequences to the business are that leaders make decisions without all the relevant facts and the people subconsciously don’t agree with the decisions. This is a form of institutional passive aggressive behavior. Sound familiar?
Philip Atkinson writes in “A Study of Decline”: “Political Correctness (PC) is the communal tyranny that erupted in the 1980s. It was a spontaneous declaration that particular ideas, expressions and behavior, which were then legal, should be forbidden by law, and people who transgressed should be punished. It started with a few voices but grew in popularity until it became unwritten and written law within the community. With those who were publicly declared as being not politically correct becoming the object of persecution by the mob, if not prosecution by the state.”
“Unless plain speaking is allowed, clear thinking is denied.”
How Harsh is The Truth?
Last week I wrote a post titled “Is It The Zombie Economy?”. In that post I said “Sometimes discussing the emergence and value of all this “social stuff” with business leaders is like talking to Zombies. A zombie is a mythical creature that appears in folklore and popular culture typically as a reanimated corpse or a mindless human being. The word mindless means marked by a lack of mind or consciousnes (1): marked by or displaying no use of the powers of the intellect (2): requiring little attention or thought. Sound like a harsh assessment of business leaders? How long to the leaders of industries collapsing take to recognize the entire market has changed? Lets see, the automobile industries has been losing billions for years thus “we the people” had to bail them out.”
A reader wrote “Jay, funny post and daring. However, your not likely going to attract any corporate clients with a post like that. There are way too many business leaders who would consider your style to be politically incorrect”.
My post on the Zombie Economy included remarks from Umair Haque, a professor at Harvard Business School who had originally coined the term “Zombie Economy”. Umair used the term in a speech given on Constructive Capitalism to a bunch of senior guys at a major international organization. Umair had suggested that the model of Capitialism is shifting given the simultaneous collapse of significant portions of the manufacturing and service sectors.
In my view business cultures have followed the political landscape and have adopted way too much of “politically correct” speak. It seems that “politically correct speak” avoids harsh truths about the conditions of our economy, our culture and the emerging consequences of “avoiding the truth“. If your a business owner and your market shifts creating a deterioration of your bottom line, do you think speaking in a politically correct tone is going to change things? Not likely!
The tone of the marketplace has shifted to open conversations that don’t march to the drum of political correctness. Social media gives people an outlet to speak what is on their minds, truth or not. For business to ignore the conversations means your not hearing what the market is saying, what the market needs and learning how the new market operates.
To conclude that any business doesn’t need to engage with the market of conversations is representative of a Zombie mentality. To avoid understanding how social media and its value is fueling market changes is to be mindless of the new order of business.
Embrace the truth and it will set you free, avoiding it is a mindless act. There I said it again and yes it wasn’t the politically correct thing to say. Oh well at least I didn’t avoid the truth.
What say you?