Recently Nokia issued a press release with the following headline: “Nokia sharpens strategy and provides updates to its targets and outlook.”
On the surface, all that sounds positive. Once you get to paragraph #12, you realize what “strategy sharpening” really means is they are going to cut 10,000 jobs. Also, when you read carefully, you realize that “update their targets” means they are going to incur further losses during the current quarter than was originally announced just a few weeks ago.
After you finish reading the press release, you realize that Nokia is in a tailspin that could well be fatal. This is not the first announcement of massive layoffs and it doesn’t seem like they are capable of objectively forecasting their revenue; it’s going down much faster than they would like to admit.
I follow Nokia closely and this is the first time I’ve begun to sense the current management is not really capable of turning this situation around. Anytime you are not objective with yourself and with the public, you are in for big problems.
Here is the difficulty with not being totally objective in the statements you make:
1.) In the future, people can’t rely on what you are saying. They assume there is some sort of fluff built into the statements and they always assume the worst.
2.) As a leader of an organization, you immediately lose the respect and the trust of your people.
3.) Once you lose credibility, it takes a very long time to regain it. In fact, seldom is it salvageable among those people who have experienced your exaggerations and camouflaged statements.
The learning is very clear: always be totally objective. As a leader, your people are listening carefully to everything you say and are in a good position to judge its accuracy and tone. If you are off the mark, you will quickly lose a most valuable trait; your credibility.