What to do With Opinion
More sports stuff, again, but Curt Schilling – an ESPN employee – recently tweeted a note comparing the Nazi party to Muslim extremists. He tweeted this on his own time and reflects his own opinion but it certainly creates a dilemma for ESPN.
If you have employee – especially on social media – act a certain way how do you handle this? How do you handle it if an employee posts racy pictures on Facebook or Tweets some potentially controversial opinion? How does this affect your culture?
As a culture you must have standards and proper rules of conduct. At the same time you MUST trust your employees. Communicate to them that, while it may not be fair, the way they conduct themselves in their private lives may reflect upon the company.
But, at the same time, let them know that voicing a reasonable opinion is not only proper but encouraged.
Regardless, your leadership will be tested at some point when these issues arise. Make sure – and I mean absolutely certain – that your decisions are made internally from your core beliefs with the best interests of your team in mind. DO NOT blow with the winds of popular opinion or a politically correct culture that can be offended at the lack of pickles on a sandwich.
If you do begin to get too influenced by outside opinion you will have lost your culture. Your internal team will know that you don’t have their backs. At that point your internal team will stop operating as a team and will likely spend most of their time covering their own ass (and this is not a great operational model).
If you want to build a great team have the presence of mind to see these issues as possibilities and prepare for them. Communicate with your team and trust them to make good decisions.