Well before Bill Gates declared in his 1999 book “Business @ The Speed of Thought” that “Bad news must travel fast,” GRPMAX Founder Phillip Covington had long been preaching a similar mantra.
“Bad” news traveling fast is, of course, only one obstacle to effectively managing an organization. An even bigger problem is how workers and management view, respond, and react to negative information and constructive criticism. Historically, as has been proven by numerous studies and real life examples, few organizations handle negative news or constructive criticism well. This is unfortunate because in many cases more can be gained from the negative than the positive.
The most obvious example of benefiting from a negative is in a case where there is a problem or something goes wrong. Without knowing what the problem is (the negative) it may be difficult and sometimes impossible to bring about a successful solution and/or correction. It is also very likely that if the problem goes unadressed it may continue to occur, or occur again at some point in the future.
The thirteen principles of TIIMS are, in some cases, worded to illustrate the negative impact so that the reader may more easily relate to what is being said, and because this provides the reader with much more information about possible ways to improve.
For instance, if all that TIIMS principle number six said was: “Better literacy results in better performance,” this would not only simply be stating the obvious, but it would not provide the reader with any information as to how to go about improving the situation. The full TIIMS system goes into much more detail. However, because principle number six gives a very brief outline of the actual nature of the literacy problem, even from that small amount of information the reader gleans enough to have a better understanding of the problem, and to start thinking about ways to fix it.
Perhaps the best known example of the power that can come from looking at the negative side of an issue in order to generate positive results is Murphy’s Law. Murphy’s Laws were formulated around 1949 by Capt. Edward A. Murphy while conducting flight-related research at Edwards Air Force Base.
Murphy formulated numerous observations into concise sayings, but the most famous is undoubtedly the one that says: “If anything can go wrong, it will.”
That saying is indeed negative, but that does not alter the fact that not only is it true but those who fail to acknowledge its validity frequently pay a price when things that might have been prevented go wrong. That is why Murphy’s law was adopted by so many mission-critical industries, such as aerospace, where the tiniest problem could have catastrophic results. Since then Murphy’s Law has been adopted by engineers, the auto industry, and much of the civilized World.
Good things are frequently derived from seemingly bad news, especially if you can head off or prevent a future problem from occurring as a result. This is why one must never be afraid to look at the negative side of an equation, and why you must adopt the principle that both negative news as well as constructive criticism should be expected, looked for, and sought out rather than dreaded.
As any parent knows, often it is not when children are quiet that you rest most assured, but when you grow most concerned that something might be wrong. You should view your organization in the same way. If everything seems wonderful, and if no bad news is reaching you, it isn’t because it doesn’t exist, but only because your organization has not developed a culture and a system that allows bad news to travel and be acted upon just as fast as the good. TIIMS makes sure that you don’t miss the unlimited positives that can be derived from the un-mined and often ignored negatives that exist within all organizations.