Loose lips sink ships!
August 29, 2013
Now, I’m not talking about World War II conversations about enemy shipping movements here, I’m talking about ‘unguarded talk’ and how it can have catastrophic effects on a business or reputation. This happens every day and I’ve jokingly tweeted about a few examples but the most recent one I heard made me want to put pen to paper.
(All names have been changed for the purpose of this blog!)
Imagine… the location: a small Spanish restaurant on the north bank of the Thames. The protagonists: Tim (a well-dressed older gent from the Essex region) and Kelly (a much younger lady who appeared to have a penchant for the sun) both worked for (for the sake of this blog) Company Co.
The conversation: Kelly was keen to impress upon Tim that Robert, her manager, was terrible at his job and that he didn’t care about their customers. She was convinced that she could easily do his job and in fact might try to undermine him so that John (Robert’s boss) can see just how bad he is then Kelly can, of course, take his job. Tim agreed and also thought Robert was indeed rubbish, and if he was John he would have got rid of him years ago. Tim also agreed that John and Robert are too similar, and if they hadn’t gone to the same college then there’s no way that Fred (the head of their division) would have hired John who in turn wouldn’t have hired Robert!
This is probably getting confusing with the abundance of fake names, and the arms and legs getting added to this tale of woe, so on to my point…
I’m not usually someone that listens in to other people conversations; I’m someone who likes to quietly have lunch, catch up on some e-mails etc. but this 35-minute conversation between Kelly and Tim, about their feelings towards Robert, John and Fred made me smile, cringe and wince all at the same time.
The team at Head Resourcing will confirm that I can be quite loud on the phone, and I’m sure years ago I’ve been guilty of not being as discreet as I should have been, but this incident, on a sunny day in London made me realise how bad potential consequences can be. Think about it – what if I too worked for Company Co., or if I was a future client? What if Robert was a friend, relative or colleague? What if I too went to the same college or played golf with Fred?? How would Tim & Kelly feel if I had something to contribute to the conversation, and more importantly what would Robert or John say???
The moral of this genuine tale is obviously that the world is a fairly small place nowadays – and for the sake of our personal and professional reputations we need to be so careful what we say (or at least how loudly we say it!) when in public spaces as our company could be metaphorically torpedoed by the loose lips!
Take me back.