In any organization, there is a natural desire to please one’s boss. In general, a good, even excellent thing. However, when rules are cast aside, normal procedures ignored, policies violated, double-checks bypassed, procedures skirted, intentions not confirmed, communications substantiated, bad things can happen.

As an owner, I’ve made what I considered casual, off-hand remarks that I thought of as speculative, abstract, theoretical, conceptual, or philosophical… only to my dismay that, without further ado, someone had taken the liberty of putting their interpretation of my remarks into full force and effect. Without “further ado” has meant not informing their supervisor or bothering to confirm with me that they heard me correctly and that I wished them to procced.

I call it the “Thomas Becket Pitfall” because back in 1170, King Henry II of England is reputed to have said in reference to Thomas Becket: “Would not someone rid me of this troublesome priest?” Even though by most accounts the king’s words were not intended as a direct command, somehow four knights took it upon themselves to go murder Becket in response.

The lesson is twofold: 1) We should all watch our tongue, leaders especially, and 2) There is a lot to be said for doublechecking and verifying shared vision before we rush off to implement. The theme of “measure twice, cut once” applies in many areas.

Closing Quotes:

“Where misunderstanding serves others as an advantage, one is helpless to make oneself understood.” – Lionel Trilling, 1905-1975

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1850

“He seemed to think we were on the same page. I wasn’t even sure we were reading the same book.” – Jodie Andrefski

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier