Spill the Beans…

Have you ever been told “Don’t spill the beans?” I am sure, that as a soon to be college graduate, you have at one point or another in your life heard that phrase. Either it was said directly to you, you said it to someone, or you heard someone tell someone else.

Why do people say that to each other? Is it said because they want the end recipient to be surprised? Is it said because of a secret being kept within a close knit group? Is it because of mistrust that private matters can’t be trusted with the people that are told? Or, is it because others’ feelings don’t want to be hurt? All of these are reasons why people keep things from each other. In some cases, its acceptable and in others it can have detrimental effects.

Why do you need to know the difference as a soon to be college graduate? You need to know because the difference will allow you to be successful in your careers, while allowing you to keep a good surprise. Spilling the beans in the workplace allows new ideas to be brought out, promotes logical thinking, and facilitates a “stop in the action” so that you and your peers are able to analyze the scope of the work that you are doing.

Am I being too vague and generic? Let me provide an example that shows a classic case of “not spilling the beans.” Imagine that you are sitting in a room full of your peers and your business team and are trying to decide whether to increase the cost that your customer pays for a job that you already quoted for less. Your business team has wants to make a profit and your peers have said that they spent more money than they originally budgeted. Both sides are looking to increase the cost for the customer. If you reviewed the information and determined that both reasons were not justifiable for the increase to the customer, what would you tell your leadership?

There are several options available here, and from my own experience, I can tell you that “not spilling the beans” is no option at all. Your business team, your peers, your customer, and your leadership require the transparency in decision making and communication as your own decisions directly impact their decisions in planning, budgeting and project execution. Not speaking out and voicing concerns can cause very damaging effects such as a stop gap in the provided goods and services, project cancellation, and even bankruptcy. Look at what happened to the auto industry.

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1 Response to Spill the Beans…

  1. claudiav says:

    The title of this blog caught my attention immediately! I have never heard this saying before, but that’s maybe because i’m an international student from Venezuela. I even had to ‘google’ it to understand it, but I got it now!
    It is really interesting the example you provide about increasing the price. Actually, this example reminded me about a topic we discuss in class regularly, ‘moral claimants’. Spilling the beans can definitely lead to people being affected by a certain decision, moral claimants. If I understood what spilling the beans is, I think it seems somewhat frightening. Nobody wants to ‘spill the beans’ because of the consequences it might have. You actually talked about it as having good consequences, I agree that transparency in decision making is vital and there is no way of being transparent without spilling the beans!! I do have a couple of questions though…
    Are there any specific guidelines when ‘spilling the beans’? How do we know if it’s the right moment to ‘spill the beans’?

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