This might get harsh.
I’ve come to accept there are three things I will never discuss, debate or pontificate upon in public, and in business.
Religion. Politics. Abortion.
Religion. It’s one of those “no proof no winner” topics. Those who love religion and feel it is the source of all the good in the world will never be swayed from their beliefs, religion being rooted in beliefs. And those who don’t love religion and see it as a source for all the troubles in the world, will never be swayed from their beliefs, their value system being rooted in beliefs. It is, essentially, a Mexican stand off. So, in terms of the business world, we should all just take a nap.
Politics. Red or Blue. That’s the Western way. (Okay, in Canada we had an Orange Wave that eclisped the Red, but that was unexpected. RIP, Jack) One wins the argument for four to eight years in America, a term or two in a Parliamentary Democracy, and till someone lops your head off in a dictatorship…then someone else takes over and spends their time blaming their predecessor for all the woes in the world. In the end, we digress, digress a little more, and then forget why we’ve digressed, so we go back to blaming someone else. The topic is a general lose-lose in business, so we should all just take a nap.
Abortion. This is an easy one. I pee standing up, by design, and while I applaud those members of the feminine gender who have acquired the skill of bellying up to the aluminum concert trough to relieve oneself (the female self), it doesn’t change the fact that this is not a topic for the genetically engineered up-right relievers. It is a topic that neither I, nor anyone with a grain of sense, would bring up in business. Standers or squatters. No need for a nap. My eyes are WIDE open on this. Noooo talkies.
In an effort to take this in a direction devoid of hate mail, let me weed out the topics that are not up for “Albert Opinion” today. Religion and the other one no one wants to debate.
So I guess that leaves us with Politics. Or me, at least.
In a recent municipal election campaign, I was added to a mailing list of “supporters” for a local mayoral candidate.
I should stop here for a moment: If you added me, it was okay with me. If you didn’t, it wasn’t you. And if you couldn’t help but Google me after our email exchange on the weekend, yes, I’m writing about you. And reminding you of one house you’ll never list. Oh, the power of the internet. Old angry guys from the Old Boys Club never really see these coming.
So I was getting these friendly update emails from the election team for the previously mentioned, but not named, mayoral candidate, and I’m sure in a moment of need to correct an error in shared information, the “sender” sent out an update without suppressing the list. An innocent mistake, but none the less, everyone on the recipient or “supporters” list was exposed. Big deal, right? We’re all like-minded folks. Apparently not. There was a reply from one guy. A very stupid guy.
He went on a tirade asking why he was receiving the emails, and explaining why he wouldn’t support this candidate. Hey then proceeded to explain all the reasons not to support the candidate and why he was supporting another candidate.
This was all written to an entire list of supporters.
Following? Amused at the stupidity?
The person hit “reply to all”. He’s a businessman. And he just went on a rant to the candidate’s supporters as to why he didn’t support the candidate.
Here’s the simple math:
“Reply to All” + “Unlike-Minded Recipients” x “Politics” = REALLY Bad Business Decision.
Imagine telling a hundred, or several hundred, people that they are wrong; that they are making a mistake. Okay, that’s a political opinion. That’ll get a few people riled up. Now imagine telling the next 100 or 200 people who call your business – or walk in the door – that they are wrong about their opinions. They haven’t asked you for your opinion, mind you, you have just decided to launch an “Opinion Assault” on them for no reason other than to satisfy your uneducated ego.
Sounds pretty stupid, doesn’t it. But it happened. Probably not the best thing to do for his business. Especially when his business category (real estate) relies on referrals. And for the life of me, I can’t imagine what that guy was thinking.
Maybe that’s it. Like to many business people, he probably wasn’t thinking.
Politics. Religion. And the other one. It is never worth it in business.
Just shut up and sell my house.
Albert Berkshire is a writer, producer and voice actor. He lives, writes, plays, and consults with clients on Canada’s West Coast. He writes about both personal and business experiences, regularly helps his clients make good decisions, and always suggests you not hit “reply to all” unless you’re replying to your family – and even then, it’s not always advisable. Clarity of thought and no “reply to all” button on his email program, has helped make his company, GreatCreative.Com, successful. For a much shorter, and less frequent rambling, follow Albert on Twitter @albertberkshire.