Excitement around the invention of anti-Coronavirus vaccines has brought a wave of optimism that some kind of new “normal” for business – and life beyond it – is now in sight.
If all goes well, the vaccines over the next year will underpin an upsurge in business activity.
This will involve vital bursts of business communication as companies scramble to tell the world how they’re getting back on track – in conversations with their clients, their prospects and the news media.
This rush towards business revival brings with it enormous potential for great answers – and, alas, potential for atrocious answers.
It’s destined to bring companies such tough questions such as:
- Will you be able to supply your products and services in 2021 in exactly the same way you did back in 2019?
- Is there a danger you’re letting too many people go back too early into your offices, your shops, or your factories?
- Will the disruption caused by Coronavirus mean you won’t be able to provide the same quality as before?
Whatever you and your organisation can contribute to the potential business recovery, how your team communicates about it will play a vital part in your success.
Atrocious answers and other forms of abysmal communication can always get in the way.
Towards the end of this post you’ll see various ways that what’s effectively the Anti-Bad Answers Vaccine can be injected into you and your team members.
But first a warning about side-effects.
There are serious side-effects flowing from NOT being vaccinated against bad answers – or in leaving it too late to have the pain-free injection.
The latest example of reputation-destroying bad answers has just been paraded before a public inquiry in London…
THE EXECUTIVE WITH NO ANTI-BAD-ANSWERS PROTECTION
The truly atrocious bad answers have come to light at the ongoing inquiry into the tragic 2017 fire in the Grenfell Tower housing block in West London.
The answers came from Kingspan – a company that boasts it’s the global leader in high-performance insulation operating in more than 70 countries.
Kingspan also has the dubious distinction of being the company that provided the highly flammable insulation material which was installed in Grenfell Tower.
Three years ago, when the combustible insulation in Grenfell Tower caught alight, it killed more than 70 people and badly injured many more.
The inquiry has been examining emails that were sent before the inferno by a senior executive at Kingspan, Philip Heath – a true master of atrocious answers.
He’s the kind of guy you might hope will never be discovered lurking on your team.
Mr Heath is a Global Director at Kingspan.
He had the title “Technical Manager” when he replied to emailed inquiries from a building company which was questioning – quite justifiably as it’s turned out – the safety of the company’s flammable insulation products.
ALWAYS DEMONSTRATE A RESPONSIBLE ATTITUDE
One of the key things when facing serious tough questions on life and death matters is that, apart from providing the information requested, your answers must demonstrate a responsible attitude.
Alas Mr Heath’s response in an email to colleagues did the complete opposite.
He said the builders asking questions were mistaking him for “someone who gives a dam”.
We can overlook the fact that “dam” in this context should have be spelt “damn”.
But Mr Heath was effectively signalling that he didn’t care about the lives of people allegedly endangered by his company’s dangerous products.
His notorious email also said the builders who were questioning the safety of Kingspan’s products should “go f*** themselves”.
Mr Heath also declared that if the company questioning their products was not careful, Kingspan would “sue the arse off them”.
It didn’t help that the Technical Manager added a PS to his email saying: “I don’t do technical on a Friday.”
By sending the email to a range of colleagues Mr Heath set himself up for a string of justifiably tough verbal questions to be thrown at him by the inquiry.
Under intense questioning he had to admit that the concerns being raised by the builders were in fact “entirely legitimate”.
He was left with no option other than to tell the inquiry that his email response was “totally unprofessional”.
If you can overcome the “cringe factor” and bear to see Mr Heath giving verbal evidence to the inquiry about his email, watch this video report here:
LEARNING LEARNABLE SKILLS BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE
You might think it would have been desirable for Philip Heath to learn how to give great answers BEFORE he was allowed to deal with legitimate safety inquiries.
The good news for anyone worried about having any hidden Philip Heath-types on your team is that giving great – and responsible – answers to tough questions is a learnable skill.
If you need an injection of great answering skills for yourself and/or your team, there’s information about upskilling sessions at:
If you need online communications-boosting sessions – on Zoom, Teams or another platform – you can click here:
If you need the Anti-Bad-Answers Vaccine directly injected into your ears – in a soothing-yet-reassuring Australian accent – you can check out the Audio Book and the CD versions of “Great Answers To Tough Questions At Work” here:
Or if you prefer to read how to vaccinate yourself against giving bad answers, the first chapter is free online at:
Top graphic designers suggest that sessions to apply the golden formulae for great answers to your situations are potentially available wherever you are in the universe.
Email email@example.com or call 44 (0) 7944 952835 to find out where and how the Anti-Bad Answers Vaccine can be applied to you and/or your team.
There’s growing evidence – but no absolute scientific proof yet – that repeatedly giving appalling answers over four years or more, while avoiding the Anti-Bad Answers Vaccine, turns your hair a crazy orange colour.
But would you want to take the risk?