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Posted on: Saturday, 02 January 2010 by Rajiv Popat

At Multiplitaxion Inc; people are optimistic about everything that they do. Jack; a programmer sitting across in his is silently and quietly celebrating the fact that the organization has signed up a new project. My problem; dear reader; is my knowing that we do not have a sign off from a client yet.

How did he learn about the new client; I ask him hesitantly.

His manager told him; I am told.

I cringe; then I decide to keep my gob shut.

As someone who leads teams of programmers there is something you need to know about both good-news and bad-news. They spread; within the corridors of the organization. They spread in an uncontrolled manner; pretty much like an organizational wild fire that is rather painful to stop once it starts spreading.

To add to that; most managers that I have seen around the globe seem to have another problem. It is a problem with transmission of messages. Messages often change drastically when they move from managers to programmers.

A classic example for instance is: we 'might' sign off a really huge project next week becomes we 'will' sign off a really huge project next week.

What this means is that getting Jack in a room and telling him about a new deal that Multiplitaxion Inc 'might' sign off; will often mean that you end up telling him about a new deal Multiplitaxion Inc 'will' sign off.

When you do that as a manager what you are doing is adding a lethal dose of optimism and starting a wildfire. If you are one lucky son of a gun; the sign off will happen next week and the wildfire of happiness you started will do no harm.

If however; you are like most of us mere mortals; in most cases Murphy's Law will kick in; which simply put; means that if something can go wrong; it will. It is then; that you might find yourself indulging in a painful firefighting exercise.

Spread wildfires of happiness with optimism a couple of times and you have lost all confidence that people who work with you had in you.

As individuals who lead a team and as human beings in general; we crave to become the bearer of good news.

Obviously you love spreading Happy wildfires; but before you do; think.

Are you adding unnecessary elements of optimism to these happy wildfires? Are you creating happy wildfires which you might have to bring to painful a painful halt in future? Are your happy wildfire based on genuine confirmed good-news or are there elements of your personal wishful thinking?

If your good news has elements of personal optimism and wishful thinking attached to it; you be better off waiting a while before you light the wildfire. Hold off lighting the fire till you have a confirmation of good news and till you know deep down inside that there are no elements of personal optimism and wishful thinking involved in lighting the wildfire of happiness.

I wish you good luck.