It’s never what. It’s how.

Why consultation matters

I have a saying: “It’s never what, it’s how…[insert as appropriate] things happen, things are handled, you’re treated, things are communicated, the way you’re spoken to. Etc.

For my Aussie readers, this is exactly what went wrong for Manly last week, with the launch of their unilateral Pride jersey. And BHP in the midst of the COVID vaccination mandates last year.

Humans: We are a precious species. We are curious. We have a voice and we want our say.

The days of top down dictatorial management and managerial decision making are long gone. In some respects, business owners have lost their right to make and implement decisions in their workplaces.

Whether you agree, or not, it is always worth the time and emotional investment to share your intentions and ideas before you implement and communicate them.

You will gain far more respect and increase your chances of success if you use the words “proposed” or “suggested” rather than going ahead and taking actions and making decisions without warning.

Even for things like organisational structural changes – such as changing people’s teams or line managers – best practice requires us to include and consult with the affected parties to provide advanced warning of what your intentions are.

The greatest benefit though, is that you might have an idea suggested that you haven’t yet considered – that is, a better idea. A greater alternative.

Now back to Manly – the irony of the jersey remains that it’s not all about the LGBTQIIAAP+ community. The players who refused to wear it are religious. Religion and gender / sexual orientation are prohibited grounds for discrimination under the Act – so it’s the same thing. No one is in the wrong here. Except for the Club.

My advice

In my view, what should have occurred is this:

1. 6 weeks ago – the leadership and management of the Club should have been briefed on the Club’s intention to change the jersey, and WHY.

2. A month ago – at least – a memo should have been sent to all players to say this is our proposed jersey for our 28 July match, and this is WHY.

3. The Club should have provided the players and staff with an opportunity to consider the proposal, and respond to the idea, and then take into account any objections or obstacles or resistance – such as some of their players’ religious beliefs, and then seek to understand WHY

4. The Club would then have data to support whether the unilateral decision to wear a Pride jersey was a good one.

This is actually a great event for us all to learn from.

If you need support with staff consultation, contact me via Facebook or HR Hot Tips.

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#pride #manly #seaeagles #discrimination #religion #nrl #consultation #inclusion #diversity

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