Last week, I got into a bit of hot water for an email that I sent up the chain of command.
When I wrote it, I felt totally confident and noble in my objective (of course, right?!). I wanted to make the organization better, I was passionate about it, and I had data to back up my claim.
Well, the response I got wasn't so warm. In fact, it was chilly. Even downright cold.
I was puzzled by this and over the weekend raised it with a friend who is a psychologist.
"Look," he said. "There's a small group of people who are never satisfied with the status quo. You sincerely think you can do better. You are inherently motivated to improve. That's the positive. The flip side is that you need to really think about how you communicate your objectives to your superiors.
When you don't couch it right, you are basically calling them 'freakin idiots' [his words but left in to deliver the desired emphasis].
Now, no one likes to be called a 'freakin idiot' so unless you express it in the right way, your idea is going to die on the vine."
A great lesson for all of us who think of ourselves as change agents. A new perspective I hadn't had before. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way.