Why the results of this LinkedIn poll shocked me.

(WARNING contains adult content, please don’t read if easily offended)

Written by Chris Doggart

Chris Doggart looking shocked!

Chris Doggart’s reaction to the results!

 

I shall never forget the day a colleague blurted out in the middle of a meeting “Chris, opinions are like a***holes, everyone’s got one”.

This outburst was followed by a brief silence and then a flood of profuse apologies for their indiscretion, this was not their normal behaviour and I suspect they were the most shocked person in the room. The memory has remained with me for a number of years, firstly because I found the whole episode very funny and secondly because I was very confused about what was meant by the statement. Only recently did I realise they had stopped short of completing the statement (probably due to aforementioned embarrassment), the phrase should be “Opinions are like a***holes, everyone’s got one, but we think everyone else’s stink”.

With this in mind it was with trepidation that we launched Being’s Poll Week – a week of polls designed to gather the opinions of our community on LinkedIn. Contrary to the opinion of my former colleague, we are genuinely fascinated by the opinions of our peers, colleagues, clients, suppliers and friends. In particular we are interested in opinions that surprise us, that challenge logic or “perceived wisdom” and opinions that make us laugh. Happily we found examples of all of the above in our Poll Week survey results, the highlights of which we will share here. If you are one of the many who responded to the poll questions, thank you so much for engaging in the discussion and for providing a pungent mix of controversy for us to ponder.

62% of people polled claimed they didn’t respond to polls.

My standout favourite result of all, the humour, the wit and the mildly disruptive anti-establishment spirit of our community are all proof that this industry is my natural habitat.

55% of people claimed to be sticklers for the rules and that they wear masks and maintain 2m social distance at events.

This surprised me as it didn’t really match what I experienced when I attended a recent event. I am the one on the train and in the shop still wearing a mask, but at this event everyone was so pleased to be back together that they were definitely not masked and distanced. Are people afraid to be honest in these polls worried about their response becoming public, that an algorithm will track their answers? Or is it simply that these 55% are still not ready to attend live events and that the attendees at this event were in the other 45%? Whichever it is, for those who have never setup a LinkedIn Poll before, know this, I can see what your response was, so huggers beware I’m coming for you.

65% of people base new supplier selection on peer recommendation, more than double the next most popular response.

It makes commercial sense to be nice. “Nice” as a word has had a rough time of it lately, it has been bullied and derided by the new kids on the block: “passionate” and “strategic”. But being nice is, well, nice. It is my gut feeling that people are unlikely to recommend people they don’t think are “nice”. So why do we all experience so many examples of people not being nice? If you want to be successful and grow your business, according to our survey, you need to build strong and positive relationships with your peers – it’s the key to new business. The quality of work is undoubtedly important but on it’s own it is probably not enough.

An amazing 95% of people trust their suppliers but only 53% trust their clients.

This is a staggering, statistically significant and fascinating difference. Why do people believe their suppliers more readily than their clients? Is it as simple as “choice”? Do people feel they have selected their suppliers and therefore believe in their ability to pick a partner with integrity but are less selective about the clients they work for (this is business after all and during tough times are people prepared to turn down business from a client because they don’t trust them)?

Many of us are both clients and suppliers, we work for someone who pays for our services / products and we need partners to help us deliver those services. What does this poll reveal about how we behave in these different roles? I doubt respondents were considering their behaviour, more likely they were thinking about particular clients / suppliers they have worked with. If people assume client’s bend the truth, will this affect how they act when they wear the client hat? Perhaps it is as simple as most respondents saw themselves as a supplier and therefore were giving self validating responses?

What I find most intriguing is that it seems to confound logic. Clients are generally perceived to be the ones with the power, controlling the relationship with their supplier. A clients’ commercial success is traditionally far less dependent on the commercial relationship they have with their supplier, particularly in the event production world. Conversely a supplier’s business success is far more dependent on the commercial relationship they have with their client. Would logic not lead us to assume the supplier may have more to gain from pulling the wool over their clients eyes than the opposite?

Naturally a loss in trust in a supplier is much more likely to mark the end of that relationship than the loss of trust one might have with their client, sadly that “master / slave” mentality does still exist in some scenarios and commercial pressure makes it hard to say “no” to a client.

In my naive little world, the client is much more likely to achieve their goals if they are transparent and honest with their suppliers. For some reason the people who responded to our poll clearly didn’t feel that honesty was present in nearly 50% of their client relationships. Why is that?

Much to ponder for us as we try to gain insight from the results of poll week, insights that we hope will make us a better supplier and a better client. To all our respondents, thank you for serving up such pleasantly fragrant food for thought we are truly blessed to work with such a delightful group of people delightfully free of a***holes.

If you would like to join in on some of our next polls, follow us on LinkedIn.

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