In my more distant past, I was a Head Chef. I almost ended up working for Gordon Ramsay, that most famous of direct communicators. (I turned him down) At one point after I finished up university, I considered writing a book about the way chefs communicate and why offices are so cripplingly inefficient in comparison.
Science has now established that people who swear, for example, successfully lower their blood pressure, are likely to be more honest and more intelligent in terms of clarity of thought. This idea is pretty key to direct communication.
When people make excuses, such as “I can’t right now,” and you cut across them with “That’s OK I don’t want to either, but this is important” it is an extremely effective weapon in ensuring that you have an opportunity to follow up with getting your message across as quickly and effectively as possible. It is often met with horror, particularly by people who are used to using measured doses of superficially polite oil to avoid confrontation.
Likewise, offices often have gossip cliques, where complaints and queries about other staff members circulate for weeks and weeks at a time, colouring everyone’s view of the unfortunate victim no matter what they do. Extremely competent yet unambitious rivals are eliminated by this conspiracy of incompetence, rather than my or any other chef’s preferred route of simply telling the person what the problem is in order to avoid a repeat.
Hence, the urgency of service is akin to the urgency of war. Retiring chefs – who often retire in their late twenties – often retire into the army as they are well equipped to deal with discipline and extremely direct communication.
Trying to survive an office environment when you are used to an efficient system with a sense of urgency is more difficult. It is bewildering. Why would an oily incompetent be promoted whilst you are left sitting on ground level wondering when the problems will be fixed?
Many years ago, I was involved in such a scenario when I stumbled across such an incompetent, who was mismanaging a data management project for a major utilities company. I had previously worked for a rival company doing much the same work, and it turned out that I was the only person qualified to run the project. Rather than taking advice from me directly, which this individual could not be seen to do, he stole the information and colluded with his assistant to eliminate me. He could not understand why I had even bothered to point it out. His errors were potentially killing staff at an estimated rate of 12 per year. I was offered a bribe, which I turned down. I later heard that further to this they paid consultancy fees to the original company to tell them the same thing I told them.
To the company, this was simply part of their business, so the safety risk was not something they were equipped to even think about. The fact that I knew about it meant that I had to be discredited, and the fact that I was the only person qualified to actually do the job simply did not matter to them. They were not going to listen to me. Ahs a direct communicator I was not likely to understand this and so I became a marked person.
It had never occurred to me what a small corrupt country I came from until I pursued the CEO of this extremely large company to ask why the company worked like this and what was to be done about it? I was hotly pursued to see ‘who I was working for,’ and why I would create trouble for the company. It did not occur to anyone that I had simply identified a problem and reported it with the intention of solving it and had no industrial sabotage in mind at all.
This is very much the problem with many of the companies I had the misfortune to observe when I was still working. You are expected to sit in fear, worrying about paying your mortgage and you are not supposed to point out problems or attempt to solve them unless you have renamed yourself as a consultant and wish to charge a large fee. If you step out of this paradigm you are either mad, dangerous, corrupt or probably all three and are CAUSING THEM PROBLEMS.
I much prefer my abrasive, direct approach. I can honestly say that I am a very clear communicator and people who choose to deal with me have no doubt about my intentions unless they themselves have issues with their honesty. (most of them do, sadly) I suspect that I was born at the wrong time. Had I been working in the 50s, I would have been welcomed as a problem solver. Now, in the age of waste, I am considered stupid because I do not play the game. It has been an expensive problem.
Perhaps you are better to deceive than state your intention. I prefer not to.