Balaam answered, “Don’t I have to be careful to say what God gives me to say?” Numbers 23:12 (MSG)
In my vocation, I’ve had the experience of presenting the results of surveys, resesarch projects, and assessments to many different clients and every level of an organization. It’s always fun when the results show satisfied customers, improvements in service performance, and strong overall results. When the news is not so good, however, it can be rather stressful. o one likes to hear bad news. But when the data reveals an outcome that the client will not be happy with, there’s not much I can do.
I identify with Balaam as he presents the results of his conversation with God to his client, Balak. What’s funny is that Balak’s response is the same as I get when I present data the client doesn’t like.
- “Somethings got to be flawed in your methods.”
- “Go and check it again. You have to have missed something.”
- “Redo the survey. Call more customers. This can’t be right.”
- “Kill the messenger!” (thankfully, I’ve never actually heard this one spoken, I’ve just sensed that my client was thinking it a few times)
I’m sure you can pay people to say what you want to hear, but the truth is a precious gift. When you know exactly where you stand you have an opportunity to make tactical decisions based on reality. Balaam was doing right by Balak to tell him the truth about God’s Message.
Speaking truthfully and honestly about what we know and/or feel can be difficult. However, when it’s done consistently and done well it may reap huge rewards for both the presenter and an audience who is open and receptive.