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Tips for anyone who’s ever had to be the bearer of bad news!

Here in Australia we’ve been inundated with Budget news over the past week.  Since most of my blog followers and members of the sphinxx leadership community are in senior business roles, you’ll know from these “leaks” that there’s not much good news for you: you are what the current Labour government refers to as wealthy individuals so you’re being asked to do your bit to get us through the GFC.  Indeed even the paid maternity leave we’ve waited (not so) patiently for decades will be means tested away from most of you.  But rather than the policies, what’s interested me most is how the bad news in this budget has been managed.

From a leadership perspective, there’s a lot we can learn from this.  In PR terms, most of the “bad news” has been strategically leaked to the press over the past week.  In the current economic climate, no one could seriously have expected an easy budget and bit by bit, we’ve heard what we need to give up, promises the Government can no longer afford to delivery on and what we each must forego to get us through the recession.  We’re ready now for the formal announcements that are coming tonight and the almost $60bn of debt we’re about to be dealt; there will be no major surprises and (because the hard news has already been dealt with) the headlines tomorrow morning will be on a more positive note.

The lesson here?  In every business we have to take the good with the bad, and when it’s your turn to be the bearer of bad news, consider how you’ll deliver it.  Consider what strategic leaks could help you manage the worst of the impact.  Consider who will be most impacted by your changes and make sure they understand the changes prior to the big announcements.  Consider syndicating the big news before that major presentation or roadshow to the people who can help you sell it.

Too many times I’ve seen leaders fail to manage expectations in this way and then they’re surprised when they don’t get the buy in they need or the sign off they’re looking for.    You can’t possibly expect people to receive, digest and agree to all your bad news in one sitting – but they just might be more forgiving if you deliver the bad news more effectively.

And as for the Budget itself?  I’m not even going to try to make head or tail of it myself – because our sphinxx leader Kate McCallum from MultiForte Financial Services has offered to do that for me!  MultiForte will be sharing the strategies you need to adopt to take advantage of the Federal Budget changes by webinar on 22nd May.  If – like me – you want to leave the work to the experts, simply register for MultiForte’s free webinar by calling 02 8209 1607 or email evasilis@multiforte.com.au

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