A Case of Misunderstood Message

Indane Biscuits is located in an industrial area. The biscuit factory employs labor on a daily basis. The management does not follow statutory regulations and are able to get away with violations by keeping the concerned inspectors in good books.

The factory has a designated room to which employees are periodically called either to hire or to fire. On the National Safety Day, the Industries Association, of which Indane Biscuits is a member, decided to celebrate collectively at a central place. Each of the members was given a specific task. The Personnel Manager, lindane Biscuits, desired to consult his supervisors and to inform everybody through them about the safety day celebrations. He sent a memo requesting them to be present in the room meant for hiring and firing. As soon as the supervisors read the memo, they all got panicky thinking that now it was their turn to get fired. They started having ‘hush-hush’ consultations.

From India, Mumbai
Process Industry Consultant / Soft Skill
Raj Kumar Hansdah
Shrm, Od, Hrd, Pms
+1 Other


HR has an important role in any Industry. Before releasing such circulars one should be cautious as otherwise he will be put in a irksome position. D.SUBBA RAO
From India, Visakhapatnam
Gaurav Sareen

I totally agree with Mr Rao's succinct and simple yet incredibly wise comment.

Adding to those comments, another reason for the bulk of 'micsommunication' is that the vast majority of those entrusted with issuing such messages are incompetent at identifying the core message that needs to be communicated.

Instead, they waffle about peripheral and irrelevant 'stuff' in a language that would send even a Supreme Court lawyer or a Booker Prize winner off the edge.

So, while they end up with a full A4 sheet in size 10 font, most will almost entirely miss the core message that was meant to have been communicated. And, in those rare instances where the core message is included, it is almost always buried between piles of irrelevant gibberish and isn't glaringly obvious and noticeable!

And, in situations where there incompetence is pointed out to them, instead of learning from it, they usually become defensive and shift the onus of 'understanding the message' on to the reader.

Its not without reason that gurus and the wise ones (since time immorial) have repeatedly and continually emphasised that 'Effective Communication' is the key to successful leadership, conflict resolution, management and so on and so forth...

So, the lesson is that if we want to communicate our message effectively, then we MUST ensure that we do EXACTLY that. Otherwise, people will draw their own conclusions - especially where there is a historical pattern of unclear communication.

In my experience, a 'misunderstood' message is ALWAYS a 'mis-constructed' message that either doesn't explain the core message or leaves sufficient space for ambiguity and dual interpretation.

Thank you very much for sharing ...

Kind regards

From India, Gurgaon

Unnecessary panic. Is it a decimation room? No such rooms are in any factory or offices. Part of miscommunication among workmen. Pon
From India, Lucknow

Hello Khushi
If the Manager had written that the Agenda would be "Safety Celebration"
such a situation would not have been created.
Your Communication (posting) on this 'communication howler' itself is not complete !
As pointed out by Mr M.R.S. Sastry, please post the text beyond worke
V.Raghunathan..................................... .....Navi Mumbai

From India
Raj Kumar Hansdah

Dear Pon
You would be surprised to know that some of the industry-practices in Indian-family-run-small- "companies" are Stranger than Fiction !!!!!
The "decimation room" as nicely put by you, do exist in certain companies/industries. Sad, but a reality, nonetheless !
Warm regards.

From India, Delhi

Dear Pon,
The basic purpose of communication is to convey in clear terms the requirement of the one making communication. The Personnel Manager miserably failed to appreciate it. In case he had conveyed to supervisors concerned to meet in connection with the Safety Dat celebration such situation would not have arisen. Not only this the oficer concerned seems to be ignorant of the psyche of people working in the organisation.
In such a situation God Save the King.

From India, Delhi

Dear Pon
The GM-HR , a product of the top primer management institute , sick of this family management style, went to the MD's room with the resignation letter
The MD,after reading the letter, locks the room and starts beating him and threatens him more physical harm if he runs away
What do you say about it

From India, Hyderabad

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