30% Negative or 70% Positive

Morning Buzz by Andy Kuhn (LinkedIn) (Twitter)

What I’m Reading: How Baby Boomers Broke America by Steven Brill in Time Magazine

What I’m Watching: Silicon Valley Season 5

What I’m Listening To: Trying to hear Yanny instead of Laurel

Good News Bad News


This isn’t a reference to my childhood when my bad behavior was met by my Grandma having me cut a switch. (For those of you who weren’t raised in a rural setting, cutting a switch is a reference to going and finding a branch and cutting a small limb off it so you could get you whippin’. Spare the rod spoil the child)

No, the bad sticks is a reference to organizational communication and framing. When news circulates it can either be good news or bad news. The sad part is that good news doesn’t saturate an organization nearly as much as the bad news does. Bad news truly does stick.

As organizational leaders and communicators we are charged with moving the vision forward. This requires proper framing of issues to limit inertia and encourage continued movement. When negative news hits your desk, and the masses need to know, your employees are far more likely to stay in a negative frame if the facts presented to them are in a negative light.

Case in point, a year-end examination reveals 30% of the surveyed customers expressed negative experiences when encountering the organization.

Framing of this data will determine whether your organization moves forward or languishes. By stressing the 70% satisfactory rating at the onset, the frame is immediately positive. Psychological research constantly indicates that positive issue framing allows employees to feel empowered and enhances investment. Employees are more likely to act on that 30% negative report figure, and they are more inclined to improve by being in a more positive mindset.

It is a small task but one every leader and employee must seek to address in their work. Stress the positive and eliminate the negative. The problems remain, but all are more inclined to fix them if the frame begins on a positive note.

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What are some ways that you accentuate the positive with negative forces moving about? Leave a comment, I am interested to hear how you’ve done it in the past.