I am so glad that I don’t work for BP. As if the oil spill wasn’t bad enough, the recent release of the document where they refer to their employees as Piggies (as in the Three Little Pigs) is startling. Whoever came up with this should be thrown into the frying pan and then tossed out.
Referring to your employees as a piece of meat is wrong. You may think no one will ever find out this is how you really feel, but people are smart. They’ll quickly catch on to the fact that something doesn’t smell right.
It’s our behaviors that demonstrate who we really are. Not our intentions. Perhaps BP was looking for a simple way of demonstrating the options available for housing. Most likely it was a situation of group think, where one person came up with this brilliant idea and everyone else jumped onboard. I’m betting that in retrospect, they wished they had moved in a different direction.
You are writing your future right now. If you don’t agree with what everyone else is saying, speak up! You’ll never be heard if you don’t raise your voice.
If you are a leader in your organization, keep your eyes and ears open for signs that may indicate your employees are not being treated respectfully. Make it clear that this behavior is unacceptable and be willing to toss out managers who are unwilling or unable to create the type of workplace where people feel valued. Do this and I guarantee your story will have a happier ending than BP’s.
Author of the forthcoming book, Suddenly
in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around
(Nicholas Brealey, January 2011)
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