Lessons from the Presidential Airplane Photo Op Fiasco

[article]
Summary:

What were they thinking? Or were they thinking? Bad enough doing the photo op in lower Manhattan. But to do it without informing the public! And from what I've read, it was a deliberate decision not to inform the public.

It's easy to take potshots when things like this happen. But things like this happen all the time, especially in the workplace. Have you ever had a situation where someone withheld important information from you? And conversely, have you ever been the one doing the withholding?

What were they thinking? Or were they thinking? Bad enough doing the photo op in lower
Manhattan
. But to do it without informing the public! And from what I've read, it was a deliberate decision not to inform the public.

It's easy to take potshots when things like this happen. But things like this happen all the time, especially in the workplace. Have you ever had a situation where someone withheld important information from you? And conversely, have you ever been the one doing the withholding?

I started wondering about this, because in my work helping IT organizations improve customer satisfaction, I often have the opportunity to talk with their internal customers. One of the grievances I hear from these customers is that IT withholds information about matters of importance to the customers.

But IT is not alone. Needlessly withholding information is a mistake anyone can make, whether with customers, colleagues, or others. So, when we express disbelief about the photo op fiasco, maybe we can also consider what we can learn from it.

Sometimes, there's a rationale behind the withholding (as there may have been with the photo op, though we'll likely never know). But it's not always a valid rationale from the customers' perspective. And sometimes, the withholding is because the IT personnel just didn't consider the potential impact. They didn't ask, What might be the downside of not telling them? How might our withholding this information backfire?

Sadly, these instances of withholding information lead customers to perceive the IT staff as liars. (See my StickyMinds article on lying .) Yet, in every instance in which I've heard customers label IT as liars, the IT people were really good people who worked hard and wanted to do their best. They just didn't think about the consequences of their actions (or inactions).

About the author

AgileConnection is one of the growing communities of the TechWell network.

Featuring fresh, insightful stories, TechWell.com is the place to go for what is happening in software development and delivery.  Join the conversation now!