I wrote this post a couple of days ago, and delighted to report that I got feedback. (Even more delighted that feedback is increasingly happening – so I am obviously hitting the occasional nerve.)

On this occasion, I was reminded by a couple of people about the famous quote attributed to Woody Allen. You know the one that goes “90% (sic) of success is turning up”. It got me to thinking, so I did some checking.

“Why that particular percentage? ”The figure seems high to me today,” Mr. Allen says, ”but I know it was more than 60 and the extra syllable in 70 ruins the rhythm of the quote, so I think we should let it stand at 80.”

[ Source : Woody Allen via
On Language; The Elision Fields by William Safire
August 13 1989, New York Times ]

Scroll to the bottom for the full discourse

Of course my post wasn’t really about  success, but rather how people take shortcuts to message and attempt to motivate staff. Here’s another example.

The CEO of <redacted> circulated a document to all staff. The core message was how all staff could contribute to motivation. I am guessing he didn’t read the whole thing. He should have. The last line in the piece he circulated read

Bring in some beers on a Friday afternoon.

Don’t get me wrong, I think a lot of the memo (copied verbatim from the original article) made a lot of sense, even the beer part. (BTW, I had to find the link because it wasn’t shared by the CEO, but that’s a different story – which I will get to in another post.)

To be fair, Chad was credited with the writing, but it was clear that the CEO hadn’t read it all. If he had, he would have spotted that last line about the beer. One of his managers did read it all – and acted on it. It was Christmas after all. The manager was then reported to HR for bringing alcohol onto the company premises. Why ? Turns out the company’s own business policy states ‘no alcohol on company premises’.

Quite why someone would report something like that to HR is beyond me, but probably speaks volumes to the disfunction of that particular organization, not to say the individual.

My Point ?

I understand that we are all swamped in a world of information overload. But there is no excuse for blindly sharing information without understanding that it is correct, understood and in line with your own thinking and policies. It’s a personal example of another post I wrote yesterday about the sloppiness of Folio Magazine and how they ‘corrected’ their own failure of not reading a simple Press Release to the end, but then left in place their clickbait headline.

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