Bad News is Good News Revisited

Last week I shared the idea that bad news can be good news within your organization. Let’s look more closely at what that means.

My full saying (my Morganism) is:
            Good news is no news. 
            No news is bad news.
            And bad news is good news
                          —if you do something about it. 

These ideas run counter to most people’s instincts about good and bad news and reporting within their organization. Let’s look at this more closely.

 1. “Good news is no news.” Of course it’s important to celebrate successes. But good news means things are going well, and that’s not where challenges lay.

 2. “No news is bad news.” This is a tricky one. People assume that no news means everything is running smoothly. But in my experience it’s often the opposite: something has gone wrong but no one is acknowledging it. Now that’s bad news.

 3. “Bad news is good news —if you do something about it.” When something goes wrong you have the opportunity to take corrective action, or to learn from failure. It’s a chance for innovation or to launch a new program. Bad news equals opportunity. 

Now that’s good news!

  • Can you identify a situation where “no news” got your organization into trouble?
  • How could you have discovered the news hiding behind a “no news” situation?

To learn more, listen to this short chapter from Applied Wisdom for the Nonprofit Sector.