This is a short, sharp Possums post. And please- share it with as many colleagues and teams as you can, and with anyone you care about. Because this is a powerful message which- if you screw it up- will have huge ramifications. Here it is.
I was reminded about this threat when visiting the Hunter Valley wine district this weekend to see the amazing Leonard Cohen in concert. As I relaxed over coffee the following morning, I looked up to see a message on the café wall. It kind of shocked me, because it reminded me of one of the most dangerous threats that December holds. I have seen many careers implode because of it, many great client relationships disappear. And we must make damned sure no-one makes this mistake on our team. Easier said than done, but it can be done. Here it is:
“The truth is in the wine.”
Huh? What’s this mean? Simply this- it’s the festive season. Parties abound. Alcohol flows. WATCH OUT!!!! It is DANGER time.
It’s the time some can lose control. They tell people the truth about how they feel about them, for example. Telling their boss how all laugh at him behind his back (as I have been told many a time), or telling a client they hate their brand, product or people on the client team. This is somewhat unhelpful. (Remember- a client is ALWAYS a client, even after a few drinks on a Friday night when all is fun and goodwill abounds). Or when a young colleague leaves a client ‘thank you’ event late at night, walks out into the street in bad shape ( think ‘tired and emotional’)and not sure how to get home.
We have to step up NOW and ensure we do all we can to prevent these circumstances evolving.
So- What To Do?
First, give yourself a good talking to and ensure you set the right example.
Secondly, take action NOW to ensure your teams are reminded to be very cautious- make sure they understand that work ‘end of year’ celebrations- whether with clients or just colleagues- are not the place to let your hair down (this is no risk for me by the way) and not the place to go that step too far. Communicate hard, and regularly on this. Set guidelines. And stick to them. Ensure your senior team is alert and ever watchful, and intervene early and with great care if you see anyone shaping to go that step too far.
I know I might come across as a bit old fashioned. But actually, it’s not. It’s about doing the right thing, and caring- that talented, hard working, high potential people in our industry do not stuff it up during this high risk time. Please- spread the word. Let’s take care of each other.