*Ducking under desk * Writing an article criticizing political correctness would be, well… politically incorrect. But I am going to try to make a point about political correctness while living to write another day. To begin with, this has nothing to do with political correctness relating to sex, politics, religion, etc. I am talking about “business decision political correctness.” Political correctness has a negative side effect in business decisions. Part of the reason we have so many scandals (that people knew about for a long time but didn’t fix) is because we may have taken political correctness too far.
What is the opposite of political correctness? The politically correct answer would be political incorrectness. However, the real answer might be honesty. To fix compliance problems, we need honesty. There are executives who spend all day trying to look good rather than be good. They advise up-and-comers to be politically correct (i.e., tell people what they want to hear).
[bctt tweet=”@RoySnellSCCE What is the opposite of political correctness? The real answer might be honesty.” via=”no”]
I am not suggesting that people be coarse, rude, or constantly complaining. I am suggesting that we need to worry more about being honest than about being politically correct. In the case of Penn State University the politically correct thing to do was to not offend the Coach, Athletic Director, President, or the football program in general. At Enron the politically correct thing to do was support all accounting decisions that helped make the financials look good, even if they were potentially illegal.
I am not suggesting being a jerk. Every time I write about stepping up to problems and being honest, I get an email saying “thank you.” The author of the email has been offending everyone in their life because they are rude, insensitive, and constantly complaining. They think my article vindicates them. I do not advocate being a jerk. Honesty is not an excuse for rudeness. I am simply suggesting that political correctness has gone too far, and that important, honest, and difficult business conversations are being stifled. It is possible that the politically correct thing to do is occasionally be “politically incorrect” and stand up (graciously) to potential business problems.