In the middle of the desert you can say anything you want

08 Nov 2021

When to hold on to information + problems and solutions

AR: “When I tell people about a problem, I always try to offer possible solutions” (In the context of when telling people about a problem)

This reminds me of this snipped from my notes, sadly I don’t have the source anymore:

Managing information 1Imagine that on Monday afternoon your doctor gets the bloodwork results from your recent checkup and sees possible early signs of cancer. Most people would want to know about the doctor’s assessment as soon as possible. They might even say the doctor has an ethical responsibility to share that information. But what if the doctor knows she’ll be getting a more detailed results the next day that can confirm or deny her concerns? Add in that caveat, and now it seems that maybe a doctor shouldn’t scare the hell out of her patients until she has the facts she needs – especially if it only means waiting another day or two. But does that preference change yet again if the results won’t be ready for two more weeks?

When to Hold onto Information

If the following conditions are met, it may be better to hold off explaining a new problem to your manager:

  • The situation does not require immediate intervention (i.e. no laws broken, no lives at risk, no bank accounts being drained, etc.)
  • You’re waiting on additional information that will make the scope of the issue clear
  • You control the flow of information, and your audience won’t learn about the issue from other sources
  • It’s possible that the situation can be fixed soon, allowing you to communicate both the problem and solution together
  • You suspect there may be related problems lurking that should be disclosed together
Nel mezzo del deserto posso dire tutto quello che voglio.