My Employee Engagement Blog

Remember, when you talk to 1 you’re talking to 1000!

I just finished watching the incredible debut mini series by Netflix ‘House of Cards’ based on the earlier political satire/drama of the same title.  Starring Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright and a cast of equally brilliant actors that captivate you right off the bat.  These dubious characters inspire what I can only describe as ‘addictive disgust’!  

Wow what a show! But enough of the gushing!  

What I really wanted to highlight was just one of the many memorable quotes from the show, that really made me think.  I suspect it will make managers all over the country shudder. 

Let me set the scene without any spoilers.

Zoe is a budding new reporter, struggling to break free of the mediocre stories she is being asked to cover, and find something to really get her teeth into. 

Soon enough the plot thickens and she finds herself with a willing and very powerful source - feeding her some of the best stories her newspaper has seen in years.  As she breaks story after story, soon it is her that becomes centre of attention. Much to her managers disdain.   After all she is only a ‘junior reporter’!  

Then comes the showdown scene. After disobeying a direct order from her manager to stay out of the lime light, he gives her a right dressing down. She argues back. He loses control and calls her a very very rude word beginning with ‘C’.  

Zoe being a street smart savvy young woman, tweets the offensive barrage, word for word, before telling her ‘superior’ 

"Remember, when you talk to 1 your’e talking to 1000"  

As David MacLeod and Nita Clarke have often said - “When you ask an employee to jump - they used to say ‘how high?’ now they ask ‘Why?’ and genuinely expect to get a compelling reason!”  They are not the only people pointing out this change in societal expectations (see recommended reading at the bottom of this post)

Anyway, the altercation between editor and junior reporter results in some very challenging times for said manager. Not only because of his hot headed reaction. Also due to his inability to adapt to the changing circumstances he finds himself in, and his denial of the long term relevance of social media for the news industry.  

In the heat of the moment we have all said things that we would not want repeated.  Does anyone have a completely clear conscience?  Of course not! We are only human after all.  

Even with that said, we could all do with remembering that the world is a far more transparent and connected place now.  Before we open our mouths, whether that be to a friend, colleague, employee or customer, lets ask ourselves… 

If everyone (colleagues, friends, family etc) could hear/see what I am about to say, would I still say it?     

This particular episode of House of Cards and a number of books I am currently reading have prompted thought on a number of themes:

  • The concept of obedience.  Good or bad?  Does it crush creativity and responsibility or create order and stability?   
  • The death of heirachy/deference - Is it a fallacy or are some just in denial?
  • The implications of socially connected employees.  What are the impacts on managers? 
  • The impact of and on those who just don’t  ’get it’ yet. How to help? 
  • The reality that some people have different ‘versions’ of themselves for work/home/play etc.  Should wholeness be encouraged i.e having one integrated version or is that unrealistic for some?    

Would love to hear your thoughts about any of those themes.   Please share in the comments box below! 



For some great reading : Never mind the Bosses Robin Ryde, Homo Imitans Leandro Herrero and The Shift Lynda Gratton 

About the series:  House of Cards